WTF Moments in the Legend of Zelda

  

By Joshie Jaxon

The Legend of Zelda has been around since 1986. In it’s nearly 30 year run on every Nintendo format, consisting of 17 official games, the series has had it’s share of moments that made fans go WTF?! 

I’m not ranking these, that’s for fans and message boards to decide. I’m just here to get the conversation started. I will be doing these in chronological order, by release date. Warning of potential spoilers, but most if not all of these should be common knowledge at this point. Let the geeks begin! 

Legend of Zelda II – The Adventure of Link (1987)

The second entry in the series has more than it’s fair share of WTF moments. From the start, we notice that this isn’t the same look as the original. Rather than a strictly top down view, we’re treated to a side-scrolling platformer. That is until we leave the castle. Then we’re dealing with a very mini Link traveling the landscape, as dark shadows converge on our location. Once they make contact, we’re taken back to the side scrolling action. If that didn’t have enough people scratching their heads, this game also featured a level mechanic, normally seen in RPG’s. As you progressed through the game your health, magic, and attack would increase. But wait, there’s more. Link can jump with the push of a button, something not really repeated since. He can also transform into a fairy. The biggest WTF of this was the premier of Shadow/Dark Link. Now it’s a common occurrence, but back in 1987, fighting ourselves for the first time, had many players thinking, what the…? 
  

A Link to the Past (1991)

Link’s one and only outing on the SNES brought incredible graphics, boss fights, power ups, and an fantastic story. Even with the addition of Ocarina of Time years later, many fans consider this to be one of the greatest entries in series history. It gives us the first real view that the games in the series could be tied together, though not directly related in a sequential order. In the Adventure of Link, when the player dies, we hear laughter, with a screen showing Return of Ganon. In this game, he’s really nowhere to be seen. Instead we deal with a dark wizard, Agahnim. That leads me to the WTF moment of this game. You beat Agahnim for the second time, and before you can really celebrate, a familiar looking spirit escapes his body. Later, in the dark pyramid, we learn that in this game, Agahnim is Ganon’s alter ego. The first time that happened, I just stared at the screen in disbelief. Link turning into a bunny in the dark world was funny, but Ganon back in your face? What the…?
  

Link’s Awakening (1993)

This was Link’s first handheld adventure. Link’s boat crashes, and he washes up on an unfamiliar island. That’s right, no Hyrule, no Zelda, no Triforce, nothing we’ve seen before. The goal of this game is to gather instruments so that the Wind Fish can wake up, and Link can escape the island. The giant WTF takes place after beating all the nightmares. Once the Wind Fish wakes, the island of Koholint will disappear. The entire place is nothing more than the Wind Fish’s dream. Link plays the Song of Awakening, and we get to see all the characters we grew attached to, fade into nothingness. Looking back on it, we should have seen it coming. There were Goombas, Chain Chomp, Yoshi Dolls, and Muru that looks exactly like Wart, the big bad of SMB2, which, spoiler alert, was also a dream. Well played, Nintendo, well played. 
  

Ocarina of Time (1998)

Alright, everyone knows what this one is going to be. Even if you never played the original on the N64, it was re-released on the 3DS. It is widely regarded as the greatest Zelda game ever, if not one of the greatest of all time. The set up for this moment doesn’t begin until you wake up in the Temple of Time as adult Link. Players are introduced to a Sheikah named Sheik. Sheik sets us on our path, and says some rather cryptic things as he uses his harp to teach the warp song at each of the temples in the game. Once all of the sages have been awakened, Sheik lets Link know what has been going on, and apologizes for keeping the truth from him. Sheik’s hand glows with the Triforce symbol, and it is revealed that Sheik is in fact, Princess Zelda. For some, this moment wasn’t a big shock, but for me, in a no internet access point in my life, there was no spoiler. When Zelda was revealed, it was an epic and defining moment in gaming. 
  

Majora’s Mask (2000)

This whole game is a bit of a mind freak. As a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time, kid Link falls victim to the Skull Kid, and is transformed into a Deku Scrub. As the game progresses, he also takes the form of a dead Goron, Darmani, and dead Zora, Mikau. That’s right, Link takes on the form of some of the series’ various races, but, you know, dead. Do you know why he does it, Clarice? Why he takes their skins? Anyhow, since Majora’s Mask was recently re-released, I’m sure it’s fresh on everyone’s mind. That being said, the WTF moment of this game for me, takes place at Romani Ranch on the first night. Link has to help defend the ranch from aliens. Seriously, Cow. Snatching. Aliens. Of all the absurd and crazy things in this game, and becoming dead people was a biggie, but that’s the one that had me scratching my head, saying What the…? 
  

Wind Waker (2002)

Wind Waker is one of my all time favorite games in the series. The cel-shading, and bright cartoony vibe made for some spectacular visuals. Most die-hard fans, however, hated the look of this game. They expected something more lifelike, since the GameCube was the most advanced Nintendo system of the day. That already had people uttering WTF?! Those of us who played through it got to experience that moment for several other reasons. First, after conquering the Tower of the Gods, we get to experience a castle suspended in time, that turns out to be Hyrule Castle. Not only that, we learn that the voice of our ship, is none of than the King of Hyrule himself. Don’t gasp yet, there’s more. Tetra, our mouthy pirate friend, is actually Princess Zelda. That one was a slight gasp. After all, in Ocarina we had the Zelda is a character who’s been in front of you the whole time moment. No, the real shocker in this game is the ending. It’s one of the best, and surprisingly graphic, despite it’s art style, in the history of the franchise. Link takes the master sword, and plunges it right into Ganon’s head, on camera. We see the whole thing. As Ganon turned to stone, I swear I let out an audible, What the…? 
  

Twilight Princess (2006)

As the Wii emerged, those of is who only had GameCube were happy to hear that Twilight Princess would be released on both consoles. I really didn’t want to miss out on this adventure. It is visually stunning, and another one of my all time favorites. Link is transformed into a wolf, and gives the player a chance to experience Hyrule in a whole new way. We also get Midna, who is one of the greatest in-game companions ever. Agatha the insect queen was more of a um, ok, moment for me, rather than a WTF. I just wanted to mention her here. The reveal of Midna as the titular character was so predictable you could see it from space. However, when we meet hooded Zelda, I considered for a moment that it could be her. That is of course until Midna gets injured, and wolf-Link has to get her to Zelda, stat. Midna is prepared to die, and tells Zelda to help Link finish his quest. In a jaw-dropping moment, Zelda uses the power of the Triforce to restore Link to human form, then she sacrifices herself to heal Midna. Having Zelda seemingly die at the end of the first act was a definite What the F…? 
  

Skyward Sword (2011)

My final moment on this post is brought to you by Skyward Sword. For all your sword needs, look Skyward. Our Fi’s are very reasonable. Lame joke, but I stand by it. You’ve come with me this far, let’s get through this together. Since this game sets the start of the current chronology, a lot happens. The master sword is forged during the events of our quest. Zelda is purified to be a vessel for the goddess Hylia. The final boss battles of this game, and it’s ending, in a word, wow. First of all, while I loved the motion mechanic of having to swing the right direction to hit Ghirahim, the third time around it was just annoying. The ending was so close, and I had to deal with that nonsense. Ugh! After beating his several incarnations, you think all is said and done. Wrong! Ghirahim’s master, Demise, shows up, and essentially turns Ghirahim into his weapon. The flamboyant villain we’ve been fighting all game isn’t the final boss? What?! Demise is a pain in the ass, but I was able to beat him on the second attempt. Side note, got the Hylian shield on my first boss run with the Thunder Dragon. Anyhow, when Demise is defeated, he threatens that his evil will continue to be reborn through the generations, and that he will plague Zelda and Link for all time. That’s creepy and all, but the entire game, literally, from the first time I saw him, I was waiting for Groose to succumb to darkness, and become Ganon. When he didn’t, I was disappointed. I looked at my roommate and said, Really? What the fuck?
  

Phantom Zelda in Spirit Tracks would have counted, if she wasn’t seen floating through the title screen. Kinda ruined the impact of the moment. 

There you have it, geek fans. What do you think? Did your moment make the list? Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing! 

  

Advertisements

Glorious Girls of Gaming – Princess Peach, aka Princess Toadstool

  

By Joshie Jaxon

Greetings, geek fans. When working on new material, I realized that I hadn’t done a Glorious Girls post in forever. I decided, what better way to get back to it, than to dive in with someone that gamers new and old would recognize, Princess Peach. Let’s the geeks begin! 

Originally called Princess Toadstool here in the states, she was the damsel in distress that Mario was supposed to save in the original Super Mario Bros for the NES. Back then, games had manuals to help flesh out the story, since the cartridges had limited memory. If you never read the manual, then you had no idea why Mario was running around stomping things until you got through the first castle, and discovered Toad waiting for you. Say it with me now, “Thank you, Mario, but our princess is in another castle”. After questing through eight worlds, we finally get the genuine article. Rather than the appearance we know today, she was a redhead, and wore a white dress. She kept the hair for another game or two, but changed into her signature pink dress for Super Mario Bros 2, where she was a playable character. Personally, I preferred to play as her, because of her ability to hover in the air, which saved me from death on more than one occasion. By the final game on the NES, Super Mario Bros 3, Princess Toadstool was kidnapped again. However, this time she was able to send us touching letters, and power-up items. I’m glad the Koopa King allowed to to send mail. For that matter, if she had things like power wings and such to send, why didn’t she just use them herself to escape? Ponder that, I’ll touch on it again later. 
  
The Super Nintendo era brought us Mario’s next console adventure, Super Mario World. Once again, Peach is kidnapped. Nintendo knows, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, just tweak it. So, even though the power-ups and locations may change, the only thing that can motivate Mario to want to play through a game is if he’s got a gal to save. Pauline, Daisy and Rosalina can back me up on this. He’s either saved them by personally rescuing them, or by completing tasks to get things going. Where was I? Oh yeah, save me, Mario! Save me! And he does, and it all goes well until the next time. The SNES brought us another chance to play as the princess, in the form of Super Mario Kart. Peach got addicted to racing, and she’s been doing it ever since. Which gives her at least a slight sense of accomplishment, seeing as how she’s always getting kidnapped left and right. In Mario 64, she was even held captive in her own castle. How humiliating to not even use any hidden exits to free yourself. Oh wait, bimbo blonde girl in the main series. I forgot. How careless of me. The thing is, I want to like Peach, I really do. She runs an entire kingdom, and deserves some respect. I just can’t get past her lack of defenses. Alright, Bowser gets her once or twice, you fortify and prevent it from happening again. Sadly, she, or her advisors, just never learn.
  
I could comment on Sunshine, Galaxy, Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros DS/Wii/Wii U you see where I’m going with this. I’ll summarize; Bowser takes Peach, Mario travels through roughly eight worlds to save her, repeat. However, she was given one chance to shine on her own, Super Princess Peach. In a twist of fate, Bowser takes Mario. Maybe he was trying to get him out of the way of future Peach-nappings. This time around, Peach needs to save Mario. Yay! Feminism! Girl power! Oh, wait, they didn’t give her fire flowers, a cape, Yoshi, or FLUDD, they made her a slave to her emotions. Yes, seriously. Joy, Rage, Gloom, and Calm are her arsenal. Joy makes her float, Rage makes her burn, Calm restores health, and Gloom makes her cry. Way to reinforce women using tears as a weapon, guys. As if that weren’t sexist, and disempowering enough, the object she retrieves from Bowser is called the Vibe Scepter. Hand to freaking god, not only did Bowser take Mario, he took Peach’s vibrator. Have that image in your mind as you look at the cover art for the game; Peach, using said scepter as she has a Mario kidnap fantasy. 
  
Moving on, we’re gonna focus on a more empowering incarnation of Peach, the fighter. The Princess has been part of the Smash Bros series since the beginning. Finally, Peach is able to fight back against not only Bowser, but Mario, Luigi and Yoshi too. She wields her Toad subjects as weapons, as well as her signature parasol. She is a lady, after all. There is a story mode in Smash, and she has the chance to be the one to take down Master Hand. Finally saving the day with the help of no man. Aside from that, Peach is a staple in the Party series, as well as the various sports games that are out there. I’ll give Nintendo credit, although she isn’t the most well-rounded person in their universe, she gives young girls, and boys, a female character in what is usually a male-dominated industry. She can go-cart, golf, play tennis, baseball, soccer, etc. just as well as the boys do. I personally don’t use her unless I have to, because I prefer my female characters to be more warrior than princess. However, that doesn’t stop me from finishing my Mario games and making sure she’s rescued. I can’t just leave her there. She’s certainly not going to save herself. Or is she?
  
My absolute, hands-down, all-time favorite version of Peach is from her Princess Toadstool days. There’s a little known gem of a comic called Super Mario Adventures. This story is great, and so is the art. I may do a separate post on it just to do it justice. Essentially, Bowser turns Mario and the Toads to stone. Princess Toadstool ain’t having that, and chases after him. Atta girl! Sadly, she still winds up captured, but in the greatest twist ever, she saves herself! She kicks some Koopaling ass, and gets away. Mario, not knowing she freed herself, and based on past precedent we can’t blame him, gets caught trying to save her. Then Princess Toadstool has to get back into the castle she escaped from to try and save her would-be hero. The story has it all. I won’t spoil the rest. As I said, I’ll do another post. I just love that at least on paper, not only did they make her a competent ruler, but a woman as well. There was no waiting around to be rescued, she did it herself. That’s the sort of a lesson a recognizable character like Peach should be showing more often. 
  

In conclusion, Peach currently holds the honor of being the female character with highest amount of game appearances, at a whopping total of 78 to date. Thanks, to multi-series repeats like Mario Party, Mario Kart, etc. In fact, she was the only female racer in that opening game. Despite being portrayed as clueless, Peach Toadstool really is competent in a lot of ways. Perhaps it’s her security detail that needs an overhaul. No longer a simple damsel in distress, Peach has expanded her skill set, if not her mind, to show that pretty women can be just as capable as men, and to me, that’s pretty glorious. 
  

TCG Tuesday – Yugioh, Summons

  
 
By Joshie Jaxon 

Greetings Yugioh TCG fans! I’m here today at the Kaiba Dome in New New Domino City to talk to you about summons, and we’re not talking Bahamut, Diabolos, and Ifrit. I’m talking about monster summons in the Yugioh TCG. As I covered in my last post, there are a variety of monsters out there, and now we’re gonna learn how to call them to the field to do our bidding. Let the geeks begin! 

  

Normal Summons – 

Each turn you’re allowed to normal summon one monster, unless a card effect allows you an extra summon that round. Both normal, and effect monsters can be summoned this way, with one exception. Monsters that are level 1-4, as indicated by star * level, are able to be summoned directly to the field. Monsters that are level 5-8 can be summoned to the field, as long as another monster has been sacrificed/tributed. One sacrifice is needed for monsters level 5&6, while two sacrifices are needed for monsters 7 and above. 

  
This isn’t relevant to the above paragraph, I just wanted to include what the new game field looks like now. 

Special Summons – 

Unlike a normal summon, special summons are unlimited, as long as you have the cards to do it. There are a variety of special summons available in the game, and that’s where I’ll be spending the majority of my focus. 

Monster Effect – 

There are some monster cards that allow you to special summon other monsters as long as you satisfy the condition on the card. In the example of Kaibaman or Red Eyes Black Chick, they can be tributed from the field in order to summon Blue Eyes White Dragon and Red Eyes Back Dragon from your hand, respectively. 

  

Spell Card Effect – 

Certain spell cards grant you the ability to summon out more powerful monsters. Sage’s Stone allows you to summon a Dark Magician from your hand or deck, as long as Dark Magician Girl is on the field. Knight’s Title allows you to summon Dark Magician Knight to the field, from your hand, deck, or graveyard, provided you tribute a face-up Dark Magician. It wasn’t until writing this, just now, that I realized you could use those as a combo. Still learning and refining my skills, even now. More on combos in a later post.

  

Fusion Summons (Purple Cards) –  

Fusion summons allow you to combine two or more monsters together to create a monster that is generally stronger or has an ability greater than those of the monsters that created it. There are several types of fusion summons, and I’m gonna cover all three. Fusions were the easiest and most common types of monster combining there was until Synchros and Xyzs came along as the hot new thing. Those kinds are coming up, but for now, we’re talking good old fashioned fusions, like Mr. Muto used to make.

Standard Fusion – 

Two or more monsters fused together by the use of Polymerization, Fusion Gate, Miracle Fusion, Power Bond or other such cards. The monsters can come from your hand, or field, as long as they are listed as fusion materials on the card you want to summon. I know I’ve mentioned gaining power through fusion, here’s an example; Elemental Hero Sparkman, and Elemental Hero Clayman are both normal monsters with no special abilities. Add in a little Polymerization, and you get Elemental Hero Thunder Giant. Special ability, discard a card from your hand and destroy one of your opponent’s monsters, as long as it’s weaker than Thunder Giant. Gotta love special abilities.

  

Union Fusion – 

Union monsters merge with others, in the form of an equip card, generally granting the main card bonus ATK points, or an added ability. There are a few series of cards that allow the union monster to fuse with the original to create a fusion monster, without using Polymerization. X-Head Cannon, Y-Dragon Head, and Z-Metal Tank can merge with one other as XY/XZ/etc, but if you bring all three together you can summon XYZ-Dragon Cannon. Discard a card from your hand, and destroy a card on your opponent’s field. How sweet is that? 

  

Contact Fusion – 

Introduced during the GX generation, there hasn’t been any advances made in contact fusion since 5D’s and Zexal showed up. Hell, we didn’t even get to finish the GX anime, and I for one wanted to see Yugi vs Jaden in English. There were new Elemental Heroes with the manga, I’m just saying- Sorry, small rant. Anyhow, contact fusion is exclusive to Elemental Hero Neos. Similar to union monsters, the Neo Spacians can merge with Neos without the need for a Polymerization card. The only downside is that if you don’t have Neo Space on the field, the fusion only lasts for one turn. Given some of the abilities gained by this form of fusion though, one turn could be all you need. Take one part Neos, add Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin, and Neo-Spacian Air Hummingbird, you get Elemental Hero Storm Neos. Once a turn you can destroy all spell and traps on the field. When the fusion expires, and Storm Neos returns to the extra deck, all cards on the field are returned to their respective decks. Have I mentioned I love special abilities? 

  

Ritual Summon (Blue Cards) – 

Seen a few times in the anime, by Pegasus, and a few by Yami Yugi, there wasn’t much use for ritual monsters once Battle City started, and the Egyptian God Cards were introduced. Before that, there were no sacrifices in the anime, but they still needed a way to get powerful monsters out. In my opinion, Rituals were the precursor to modern Synchros. The main difference is, in order to summon the ritual monster, you have to have the monster, as well as the corresponding spell card in your hand. To perform the ritual summon, you have to play the spell card, and sacrifice from your hand or field, monsters whose level is greater than or equal to the ritual monster. Manage to get it out on your turn, and you still have a normal summon you can perform, giving you double the monsters to assault your friends with. Sometimes with fun abilities. Lycanthrope for example, when he damages your opponent, you can then inflict a bonus 200 points for each normal monster in your graveyard. Finally, a shifter I can get behind. 

  

Synchro Summons (White Cards) – 

Ah, Synchros. The creatures responsible for me missing out on the final season of GX. It’s possible that GX got too dark for modern kids, but I think they just wanted to promote these monsters and needed the anime to do it. I know, I know, let it go. You let it go. I missed out on Neos vs Dark Magician. I’m a professional, with a job to do. Synchro monsters can be summoned with a Tuner monster and non-Tuners on the field whose level exactly totals that of the Synchro monster you want to summon. Like any special summon you can do this as many times a turn as you have monsters to accomplish a successful summon. Turbo Synchron (1) Rose Witch (4) and Snapdragon (2) can be synchro summoned to create Ancient Fairy Dragon (7), who allows you to destroy field spells to gain 1000 LP, draw your own field spell, or skip your battle phase and special summon a level 4 monster from your hand. Yay, signer dragons! 

  

Xyz Summon (Black Cards ) – 

I’ll be honest, I have no personal dueling experience with Xyz monsters, and have only seen a handful of Zexal episodes. Unlike all other monsters, Xyz have ranks, not levels. As such, they can’t be used for Xyz, Ritual, or Synchro summons. To summon an Xyz monster, you need to have the required amount of monsters on the field. The materials are stacked and placed under the Xyz monster, as most of the require you to detach one of the material monsters to activate their special abilities. Mira the Star-Bearer requires three level 1 monsters in order to summon it. If Mira would be destroyed, you can remove a material monster to save it. Also your level 4 monsters can’t be destroyed by card effects. Seems like a decent ability. I’d have to duel with some Xyz monsters to get a better handle on them, but they seem cool. Plus, the cards are black, which is awesome. 

  

Pendulum Summon (Yellow/Orange and Green Cards) – 

The latest series-specific type of monster. It’s introduced in Arc-V, which has yet to hit the states. I’ve acquired a few cards, but have zero idea how to use them yet. As soon as I do, I’ll update with more detailed information. I’m just that dedicated to you, dear readers. 
Between writing the above paragraph and this one, I’ve found and watched the official pendulum tutorial on YouTube. I’m very conflicted on them now. I’ll cover their official rules first. A pendulum monster can be played as a spell or a monster card. If played as a spell, you look at the corresponding pendulum number on the card, and match it to the one on the field. When you have two pendulum spells on the field, you’re then allowed to pendulum summon any number of monsters from your hand that are between those levels. Example, with Stargazer and Timegazer Magician in the pendulum spell zone, you have a scale of 1 and 8, so you can summon any monsters level 2-7. Plus you still get your normal summon. Essentially, this method allows a player to easily summon Xyz, Synchro, and Fusion monsters. To me, though, it just seems like a way to have a quick game with minimal strategy, as you can get all your monsters on the field, and obliterate your opponent. Normally, I’m all for complete destruction, but this just doesn’t seem right to me. Again, no real world application yet, so my opinion is subject to change. 

  

There you have it, the basics of all forms of monster summoning. Gotta go, a temporal portal just opened up, and it’s gonna be Yugi and Yusei against Jaden and Yuma in an exhibition match. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep dueling! 

  

Dungeons & Dragons – The Night of no Tomorrow

  

By Joshie Jaxon

Hey, look! The Dungeons & Dragons ride! Six children enter. How many leave? None. Because they’re pulled through a portal, and arrive in a strange land, dressed in strange clothes. Before they can figure out where they are, a five-headed dragon (FHD) attacks them. A creepy little toad looking guy tells them not to fear. Ranger, Barbarian, Magician, Thief, Cavalier, and Acrobat. No sooner do try get their power items, but they run face to face with Venger. The FHD tries to blast him, and Venger flees. Toad man tells the group that he is called Dungeon Master, and he will be their guide in the realm of Dungeons & Dragons. That’s a lot to take in during the opening credits. A know I watched this show as a kid, because I remember that opening sequence, but that’s all. I know Venger usually makes the great 80’s villains lists, but he just isn’t ringing any bells. Maybe he’ll win me over as we continue. Knowing nothing of D&D, I don’t know if there are any “in” jokes about or from the game. That being said, I love 80’s toons, so let the geeks begin! 

  

We open on the group climbing a mountain. They have names, but I’m not going to bother learning them, when I can refer to them by their class, like any good republican would. The barbarian encourages the little unicorn, aptly named Uni, to hurry up the mountain. They marvel at the view, and the echoes. Cavalier tells the thief to get control of her brother. She says he isn’t bothering anyone. Cavalier says he’s bothering him, and he’s trying to think of a way home. I wonder if they’ve tried clicking their heels together three times. The barbarian encourages Uni to try the echo. When he/she/it neighs/bleats/whatever, there’s no echo. Uni tries again, but this time we hear the roar of Tiamat the dragon (FHD). The dragon wants to know why they woke her. Barbarian charges at her, as his thief sister tells him that FHD is indestructible. Ranger shoots a magic arrow to knock barbarian out of the way of the fire, lightning, energy blast from three of the heads. Thief lures the dragon back to cave from whence it came, and uses her invisibility cloak to get away. Her barbarian brother knocks a boulder down to block the entrance. Acrobat says she can understand why Venger is afraid of that dragon. You should be too, sweetie. It has five heads.

  

Dungeon Master appears, and congratulates them. Cavalier is sick of DM’s riddles, and wants a straight answer on how to get home. Patience, all things have a purpose, including their being there. I have a feeling this series is gonna end with them always having the power to return home. Call it a hunch. DM tells the group to go north, to Helix. There, they might, keyword MIGHT find something that will assist them on their way home. Helix was once terrorized by dragons. They were ruled by the face of evil, Venger. You shall know him by his white hair. Um, Venger wears a helmet, we can’t see his hair. Oh well. DM walks behind a rock and disappears. Cavalier hates it when he does that. Didn’t they just get there in the opening credits? How long have these kids been there? Thief is worried. Acrobat says she’s always worried. DM said they should go north, so that’s what they should do. Did I mention Acrobat is a sassy black girl? If I were a different sort of comic, I would call her Afrobat. Alas, I’m not a Lampanelli, a Rivers, or even a Rickles, so I’ll stick with Acrobat. On second thought, it’s too good a name to pass up. Afrobat, ho! 

  

All this time walking is a waste of time. Cavalier would give anything for dad’s limo. Barbarian would give the limo for a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Magician says he’ll make magic burgers. Cavalier says last time they got live turkeys. Hey, he couldn’t help it if the hat thought it was Thanksgiving. He tries for burgers, and gets a live cow. Sassy Afrobat says she likes her burgers more well done than that. None of them has a sword, since we have to think of the children, even though He-Man, Lion-O, Skelletor, Conan, and Voltron all had swords, so the magician tries to get the cow back in his hat. No fresh burgers today. The party passes a sign that says they’re near Merlin’s castle. Then they pass a sign saying it’s the way they came. They can’t figure it out. Afrobat says they forgot to look up. Cue the floating castle in the sky. If only they had a way up. Cue the magical golden ladder. Kids, you’re in a strange land being guided by toady little creep, perhaps you should just think twice about climbing the ladder. They ignore my advice, and climb. They do however think twice about Venger and his white hair. I wonder if that’s about to be important.

  

Cavalier says they have a place like this in Malibu, and wishes he were there. So do your friends. Ranger suggests he swim across the moat, but cavalier isn’t into skydiving. Afrobat says she can handle it, and uses her staff to jump the sky moat, and lower the draw bridge. They enter the castle and meet Merlin, who not only has white hair, but a white rabbit. Merlin says he can do many things, but he can’t grow hair. He removes his hat, with attached wig to reveal that he’s bald. He guides the children to his cauldron. Warning bells, anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Anyhow, Merlin says he can’t help them home, but he can tell them about where they’re headed. Helix fought against a conqueror, who vowed vengeance upon his defeat. Barbarian says that DM told them this already. Ah, but what he didn’t tell you is one year, Merlin appeared, cast a spell, and used his good magic to banish the evil dragons forever. Anyone else notice that Merlin referred to himself in the third person? Anyone else think that rabbit is a hare? If so, we can still be friends. Cavalier says if Merlin isn’t going to help, then he’s leaving. He opens the door, and is face to faces with FHD.

  

Barbarian charges at her. Merlin uses magic to get him to safety. He tells the kids they must leave. Ranger offers to distract it while the others get away. Afrobat, and not Merlin, whose castle this allegedly is, directs them out the door. They close the door, and reinforce it with a wooden beam. Yeah, a gigantic, not to mention fire-breathing, dragon is gonna be stopped by a door. Then again a door held Hurt, Tennant, and Smith in the Tower of London, so why not. Merlin says there’s no escape from the dungeon. Wait, they wanna trap a dragon in the dungeon. Isn’t that a little, I dunno, majorly obvious? Magician conjures a carpet to cover the entrance, while Afrobat lures FHD over. The dragon falls for the trap, cause not one of it’s five heads had a brain. Merlin and the others use another wooden post to hold the wooden dungeon entrance closed. They never learn. Thief gives Merlin back his bunny, but he corrects her that it’s a hare. Merlin thanks them for saving his life. Life? They thought he was supposed to live forever. Oh, goodness no, he’s only seventy. He’s at that age where he wants to pass on his magical secrets, perhaps to magician? Only if he stays for the rest of his life. The group says that magician would never leave them. Wait for it, he’s leaving them to become Merlin’s apprentice. 

  

The party leaves, heading for Helix. Meanwhile, Merlin says they’ll have to deal with the dragon in the dungeon. How? Merlin says his spell book has the answers to all questions, and with that dangling carrot, he orders his new apprentice to stir the cauldron until he returns. Magician can’t resist, and ignores the cauldron to read. We know time passed based on the candle burning down. Thinking he’s found the right one, he raids the pantry for ingredients, and adds them to the cauldron. After the last one is added, smoke starts to rise, and takes the shape of a dragon. Uh oh. This won’t get him home. Yes, that was his first concern, before calling for help. He tracks down Merlin, who knows exactly what he did. Mainly because he switched the spells. Only good magic could undo Merlin’s spell. Wait a sec, there’s that third person speak again. You’re Merlin, aren’t you? The magician finally asks. Merlin says that Merlin has been dead a thousand years; he’s better known as Venger! He takes magician’s hat, and goes after Helix. 

  

Town of Helix, festival celebrating the defeat of the dragons. Ranger says he’s looking for a way home. Barbarian and Uni are busy hitting rocks with his club. Thief and Afrobat are at a fortune teller. She looks in the crystal, telling them she sees fortune for them. A second later, she’s saying the dragons will return. Ranger tells the mayor that he’s not sure why they’re there, but at least he got to meet Merlin. The mayor says that’s impossible, as he’s been dead a thousand years. He passed shortly after casting the spell that defeated Venger’s dragons. Um, Venger is over a thousand? Clearly he’s already got power and longevity. Why is he targeting Earth kids? Oh, that’s right, the Deus ex machina. Fortune teller runs to the mayor, saying the dragons are back. Thief and Afrobat say they need to go get Merlin. Ranger says it wasn’t Merlin. Afrobat says they saw him, he was there, stroking his white rabbit. No, ranger corrects her, it was his hare; his WHITE HARE! Afrobat says they thought they meant hair on your head, not hare. And with that, she loses a few points, and so do children everywhere collectively, since they didn’t have to figure it out on their own. They need to get magician away from Venger. They’ll need horses. Check the stables. 

  

The dragons start to destroy Helix. The mayor says it’s not the worst of it. Legend says the final assault will come soon, and the town will be completely destroyed. Wait, what legend? This is the first we’re hearing about a legend. Sigh. Ranger says Venger must have reversed Merlin’s spell. The one that kept the dragons away. Yes, thief, good girl. Double sigh. They reach Merlin’s castle, and luckily this is the 80’s, and Venger didn’t bother to pull the ladder up to prevent intruders. The group rushes upstairs, to discover magician playing with the hare. Not tied up. Not locked up. Free to come and go if he pleases. Ranger tells him that he needs to cast Merlin’s spell again. Venger says he won’t be casting any more spells tonight. He has the wizard hat, and now he wants the other objects of power too. Barbarian clubs the ground until books rain down on Venger. Ranger tells the group to keep him busy, while he and magician cast Merlin’s spell. Cavalier asks if they’re supposed to tell Venger jokes. Thief has an idea.

  

In the cauldron room, magician is saying he can’t do this, as ranger gives him a pep talk. Venger enters the chamber and says it’s over. Meanwhile, thief asks the group what’s the one thing Venger fears? FHD! They’re gonna let the dragon loose? Don’t they have enough problems? Venger continues to menace the others, saying he’ll add all their powers to his own. Cue FHD through the wall. Venger turns his attention to the immediate threat, and blasts at it, before fleeing, saying he’ll win in the end. FHD follows him through another wall. 

  

Time to see if magician can save the day, er, night. In the name of Merlin! In the time of sorrow! Banish winged demons! Let there be tomorrow! The dragons in Helix disappear, and the group celebrates back on the ground. The ladder and the castle disappear, and magician says now he’ll never get his hat back. Well, maybe you should’ve looked for it before leaving, genius. DM appears, and gives him back his hat. Cavalier says why can’t he return them home, but DM is already gone. Ranger tells magician that in Helix, he’s a hero. They all decide to ride there. Cavalier says he won’t share a horse. Magician conjures up the cow from earlier. Credits

  

Not a bad premier. I got a better idea of the kids’ personalities and motivations than I did Venger’s. It left a lot of questions unanswered. Why does Venger love his hare? Did Glenn Close get one in the past? Is that why he’s called “Venger”, cause he’s avenging his old fluffy friend? Why would Venger leave his hare with magician? Why are the kids going along with DM’s orders? The most important question though is, how did FHD get through the castle undetected the first time, since she clearly doesn’t use doors? I’ll leave you to ponder that. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing! 

  

TCG Tuesday – Yugioh, Card Basics 

  

By Joshie Jaxon

Ever since I was 5, I’ve been a video gamer. Geek confession, I’ve never even played D&D. Please don’t think less of me for that. I never got into tabletop games that weren’t board games. That all changed around 2002. Having been introduced to the Yugioh anime, I wanted to be a duelist myself. On my 21st birthday I was gifted Yugi’s dueling deck, and I’ve been hooked ever since. As the title suggests, in today’s post I’m going to cover some basics of, you guessed it, the Yugioh Trading Card Game. Let the geeks begin! 

 
Monster cards – 

Monsters are the main cards you use to battle your opponent with.
Levels – Monster cards are assigned levels, based on the stars * that they have on them, ranging from level 1 to level 10. 

   
 
Categories – Monster cards have a variety of categories that they fall into; Normal, Effect, Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz.

  

Type – Monster cards are divided into 24 types; Dragon, Spellcaster, Zombie, Warrior, Beast-Warrior, Beast, Winged Beast, Fiend, Fairy, Insect, Dinosaur, Reptile, Fish, Sea Serpent, Machine, Thunder, Aqua, Pyro, Rock, Plant, Psychic, Divine-Beast, Creator God and Wyrm. There are also Sub-types; Tuner, Gemini, Toon, Spirit, and Union. 
Attribute – Light, Dark, Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, and Divine. 

  

I’ll go into details on some of the above info in subsequent posts. They deserve more attention than just “basics”. For now though, let’s continue with the monster basics. 
Attack (ATK) / Defense (DEF) – 

Each monster card has attack and defense points. Usually these are within a handful of points of each other, making the monster balanced for offense or defense. There are times, however, when a monster is built to be an offensive or defensive monster. For example, although both are Elemental Heroes, Clayman has a much higher defense than offense, 2000 DEF vs 800 ATK, while Burstinatrix has a higher offensive stat, 1200 ATK vs 800 DEF. 

  

Description/Effect – The text for the card. In the case of Normal monsters, it is a description or bio of the monster. For Effect monsters, it is a description of what their effect is. Once again, I’ll use Elemental Heroes as an example. Sparkman gives us a bio about him being a warrior of light, whereas all we know about Wildheart is that he’s unaffected by the effect of traps. Poor Wildheart, no one knows anything about him. I get that these are playing cards, and space is limited, but even a tiny bio sentence, something. We want something to connect with besides the visual. I guess there always the anime, but not all cards get featured. 

  

Personally, I love the variety of the types of monsters you can get. There’s something for everyone, depending on your personality, and preferences. Not only can you pick monsters that are right for you, there is amazing artwork for each one. Generally, the subject is front and center, with an appropriate background for their element or type. Some cards just speak to a part of you, and you can’t explain why. I have an affinity for spellcasters, dragons, fiends, and heroes (warriors) myself. Not to say the other types aren’t great, because they are, but I don’t feel a compulsion towards them. I wonder if I could come up with a personality profile based on the types of monsters that people prefer. Perhaps it’s already been done. I don’t wanna get distracted and go look. Maybe later. Where was I? Oh yes, 
Spell cards – 

Originally called Magic cards, but I assume the people at Magic the Gathering had a problem with that, so it was changed. They’ll get their own spotlight post, but spells do a variety of things from direct damage, increase attack/defense, summon other monsters, and even change the playing field. In total there are 6 types of spell cards; Normal, Quick play, Equip, Field, Ritual, and Continuous 

   
 
Trap cards – 

The beauty of trap cards is their simplicity. Set it, and wait for the perfect time to spring it. The fewest type of cards available, there are only 3 types of trap cards; Normal, Continuous, and Counter. Three is more than enough though. They can destroy a monster instantly, or stop them in their tracks, and that’s just the beginning.

  

I could go on, as this is a subject I know a great deal about, but that would deviate from today’s theme. To summarize, dueling, good. Having no one to play with, bad. Get out there and find some friends whose butts you wouldn’t mind kicking, or potentially getting kicked by. Remember, no one likes a sore loser, but an ungracious winner is just as bad. It’s all meant to be fun, it is a game after all. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep dueling! 

  

Batman (1966) – Hi Diddle Riddle 

  

By Joshie Jaxon

Nah nah nah nah nah nah, Batman! Adam West before he was Mayor West. Gorshin, Meredith, Romero, Newmar, Kitt, Meriwether. I loved the way these people portrayed some of Batman’s greatest villains. I loved the movie as a kid, and still enjoy it as an adult, but that’s a subject for a later post. I have vague memories of the Batman tv show, but I know I’ve seen it before. There are a few distinct scenes that stand out. It must have been reruns on what was then Nick at Night. Either way, camp value, and bulge appreciation have only increased with time. Don’t know what I mean? You will. Let the geeks begin!

  

Gotham City World’s Fair. Moldavian exhibit. Prime minister’s friendship luncheon. Before we unveil the exhibit, there is a small ceremony. Two turban-clad men bring out a cake with what one can only assume is a Moldavian shaking hands with Uncle Sam. As he cuts the cake, it explodes. People scream and run, as the cops look for something to shoot. Not much has changed in fifty years. Anyhow, a small parachute falls to the ground. The officer opens it and reads the riddle contained within; why is an orange like a bell? Gotham City Police Headquarters. Commissioner Gordon asks his officers if they know what this means. Chief O’Hara says, the Riddler. Yes, the prince of puzzlers. They like royalizing the villains. I know the Joker is the clown prince of crime, but that’s another episode. Gordon asks the officers if they can handle it, and they all look at the red phone, under glass, I presume to keep it fresh. While we’re at it, the police pretty much just told their boss that they’re useless, and to call in outside assistance. How are they still employed? 

  

Anyhow, Gordon removes the glass, and presses the only button on the phone. In Wayne Manor, Alfred answers, “I’ll call him, sir”. Telling us that the police know that Batman has someone to answer his phone for him. We’re forty years away from the iBat, I suppose. At any rate, in his living room, Bruce Wayne is having what appears to be a board meeting. Alfred approaches, and tells him that it’s the bat phone. Bruce tells the group that he’s just been reminded that he’s promised to take his ward, Dick Grayson, fishing. He walks out of the meeting, presumably to go fishing. I get that he’s a millionaire, but that is so unprofessional. I know we’re discussing the Gay Geek Gabbiness of Batman, but I was just reminded that I promised to take my nephews to Build A Bear. Excuse me. See? That wouldn’t fly. Granted, the future of the company isn’t as important as spending alone time with one’s young companion. Maybe the staff think he’s diddling Dick, and they accept that as an idiosyncrasy of their playboy boss. Speaking of Dick, he and Aunt Harriet are coming down the stairs. Bruce offers fishing, and Dick gets excited. He knows what the code word means. Worth mentioning, he’s holding a toy plane. How old is Robin in this universe? 

  

Bruce answers the phone, and Gordon tells him he’ll never guess who’s on the loose. His arch enemy, the Riddler. How soon can you get to headquarters? Be there in a flash. Bruce lifts the head of the bust on the desk, and Dick turns the knob to open the secret entrance. Behind the bookcase we see the Batpoles, used to access the Batcave. We know this because it’s written on the wall. Who is that for? Bruce and Dick know which pole is theirs, Giggity. They know where they lead. We the audience are smart enough to figure out who’s who. Seriously, who is the labeling for? For that matter, does Aunt Harriet ever question the red phone with only one button? It’s maddening, I tell you, maddening, and we’re only to the opening credits. 

  

Batman and Robin land at the bottom of the poles. Wait, how’d they chance costumes while sliding? Does the pole stop at the outfit room, then they slide down to the main cave? Does Bruce stand there waiting as Dick fixes his hair, so they can slide down together? So many questions. Too many questions. Appropriate with all these questions that our special guest villain is the Riddler, Frank Gorshin. That’s how he was billed. I wanna be a special guest villain. Anyhow, the dynamic duo get in the Batmobile. Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed. Wait, the Batmobile is atomic? Ah, the 60’s. They leave the cave and begin the 14 mile drive to town. Upon arrival, they park right in front of police headquarters. In this iteration, Batman isn’t a vigilante, he’s an asset, and welcomed by the police. Batman repeats the orange riddle, and Robin says they both must be peeled. Chief O’Hara says they’re idiots and should’ve figured that out. Robin says it should be a clue to the real crime. Batman says the Riddler is like an artichoke, and you have to pull leaves to get to the heart. Gordon reminds them of the exploding cake. Batman says it was merely a ruse, to get him called in. Gordon says that he’s the Riddler’s deadly nemesis. Deadly? Hardly. Batman refuses to take a life. Robin says that the crime is no fun unless the Riddler can outwit them. Batman says it’s artistic the way he- that’s it! The Peale Art Gallery! That’s what the riddler was pointing to. Gordon orders his men into action. Knowing their incompetence, Batman says no. Besides, it could be a trap. 

  

Peale Art Gallery. Batman and Robin pull up, and prepare to enter, when the red Batphone in the car goes off. Batman speaking. Then we hear it. The maniacal, hysterical, gleeful laugh of Gorshin’s Riddler. Riddle me this, there are three men in a boat with four cigarettes and no matches, how do they manage to smoke? Robin wants to know what he’s up to. Batman says they’ll ask. He goes to his utility belt to get the bat-a-rang. It’s in the compartment of the same name. Point of order, Ash Ketchum knows what Pokemon is in what ball without looking, or labeling, because he knows what slot they’re in on his belt. Batman, I ask you, who is the labeling for? Who?? They climb the side of the building as Robin complains that he can’t get the riddle. Batman thinks maybe his mind is on the cute teenager who waved at him. Jealous, Bruce? 

  

They look in the window, and see the Riddler pointing a gun at the man behind the desk. Category is, special guest villain eleganza. Riddler is serving up black bowler hat and button down, matching green tie, pants and jacket, all adorned with question marks. Girl is looking fierce! Batman puts the bat-a-rang away, and gets the bat insta-welder to get the bars off the window. Um, I’m pretty sure that’s breaking and entering. Robin prepares to throw the bars to the ground, but after a warning from Batman, as well as the placement of a suction cup bat hook that magically sticks to stucco, they set the bars aside and break through the window, not once checking to see if it was unlatched. 

  

Batman tells Riddler to freeze, but he runs. A flash grenade causes him to fall over in the hall. As a duly deputized agent of the law, he places Riddler under arrest. How do police deputize someone who’s name they don’t know? Oh well. Riddler smiles as Robin goes for the bat cuffs. Out of nowhere, photographers take pictures of Batman trying to cuff the Riddler. Riddler tells him he tried to warn them. The curator tells Batman that the cross belongs to the Riddler, and was on loan for a show. But he saw him take it at gunpoint. The Riddler points the gun at Batman, and pulls the trigger. It sets off a flame. Robin realizes the answer to the riddle. They throw a cigarette overboard, and make the boat a cigarette lighter. The Ridder reminds the duo of the cameras and says, what is something no one wants to have, but no man wants to lose? Answer? A lawsuit! Correct, boy wonder. Riddler summons a henchman to serve them. He says this makes his life, and he’ll see them in court. Exit the Riddler, laughing his ass off from the joygasm. 

  

Wayne Manor. News broadcast, that the one million dollar lawsuit, for assault, slander, and false arrest, may stick. Plus, Batman would have to reveal his real identity in court. If that happens, he wouldn’t be able to fight crime in Gotham. Alright, but why? Couldn’t the police just hire Bruce outright? Their logic is flawed. Bruce says it isn’t about the money, it’s about his identity. Everything he’s trained for after his parents were murdered, gone. Again, get hired on officially. It’s not that hard. Gordon’s men were able to do it, and they’re self-proclaimed idiots. Alfred says they’ll think of something. Cause if Harriet finds out what Master Dick has been doing on these supposed fishing trips… He trails off. Dick reminds Bruce of what the Riddler said when they got served. When they finish with that, look for two more. Great Scott! Could there be hidden writing on the document? As someone who’s worked in legal, there’s always fine print in a document. To the Batcave!

  

They’re in their costumes. Perhaps there’s a rule about only seeing Batman and Robin in the cave, not Bruce and Dick. At any rate, they find the hidden riddles. First, when is the time of a clock like the whistle of a train? When it’s two to two! Toot toot toot! Oh, Robin. Second, what has neither flesh, bone, nor nail, yet has four fingers and a thumb? A glove of course! Holy smartass answer, Batman! Could it be an address? Yes, 222 Glover Ave. I hope we’re not too late. As we get a rear view of the Batmobile, it has a Gotham license plate. I’m guessing the car is registered under “Batman”, but does the reminder get mailed to Wayne Manor, or is there a PO Batbox somewhere? 

  

Meanwhile, in the hidden lair of the Molehill Mob, a groovy chick is rocking out. She dips a spoon into the giant tub of caviar, which you shouldn’t do. Metal reacts with the fish eggs and changes the taste. It should be bone. Family guy taught me that. Mobster tells Molly to lay off, it’s full of calories, and she’ll blow up. Ah, 60’s sexism. She doesn’t care, she’s hungry. He cares. If she gets fat, she won’t fit in manholes, then what use will she be? Yikes. No man hole action for you, pig. Riddler enters and tells them to stop bickering. This time he’s sporting his green unitard, purple belt, gloves, and mask. I love a coordinated villain. Why he needs a belt, I’ll never know. He orders them down the tunnels. Batman has had time to solve the clues. Just because he has, doesn’t mean he did. 

  

222 Glover, What a Way to Go Go. It’s the new discotheque. As the duo prepares to exit the Batmobile, the bouncer says the boy is underage. Batman says it’s the law. Funny, breaking the bars of Peale and entering was against the law too. So’s diddling a minor. Pick and choose I suppose. Robin takes the Batmobile and sets up the Bat scanner; a devise that allows him to see inside the club, but not from a vantage point on Batman, no, just all over in the club. Batman enters, and we see people dancing. The cigarette girl offers to check his cape. Groupies. Molly and mobster watch as Batman approaches the bar. He orders a fresh orange juice. Molly asks if he’s looking for a friend. She’s got a problem. Why is a quarrel like a bargain? Answer, it takes two to make it. Like a dance. Shall we? You’re not man enough for him, sweetie. Batman downs his juice in one swallow. Even I know he’s been roofied at this point. Stupid Bat-twat. He goes with her to the dance floor. He is vengeance! He is the night! He is doing the Batusi! That is, until the drugs kick in, and he goes down right there on the dance floor. What is this, Babylon? 

  

Outside, the voyeur wonder saw the whole thing happen. He prepares to go inside, but first, he moves a plate over the label for the anti-theft device, so that it reads “Start Button” instead. Again, who are the labels for?? Riddler emerges from a trap door, and tranques Robin. Riddler checks his pulse, then gets into the driver’s seat. After a moment of glee that his plan is working, Riddler pushes the alleged start button. Alarms and fireworks go off. People are watching all of this happen, and just stand there, by the way. Riddler orders his henchmen to grab the boy. He then throws a grenade into the Batmobile to blow it up. Too bad it has anti-fire measures, and more lives than a cat. Villains escape, as Batman stumbles out of the club. He has to go after Robin! The cops arrive, and ask Batman for his keys. He’s in no condition to drive. Look! Up in the sky! It’s the Batsignal! He’s in no condition for that either. He bangs the steering wheel, wondering about Robin.

  

Riddler’s lair. Robin is placed on a table and strapped down, as a vice is placed near his head. Molly offers the Riddler a scalpel. Holy bulge Batman! Riddler is very happy to have Robin in his clutches. Like, really happy. That or Frank is just packing the goods. Dunno what it is about a nice unitard, but, oh, sorry, the show. Yes, the vice is being tightened on Robin’s head. Time for the caped crusader to take his final bow. Will this be the ghastly end of the dynamic duo? Find out tomorrow! Same bat time! Same bat channel! 

  

All the episodes were two parters, and looking at the menu on the DVD, they made them rhyme. We won’t know what Riddler does to Robin until the next installment. Will Robin discover he kinda likes being tied up? Will Batman be jealous, even though he wasn’t giving Robin what he needed? Will Riddler ever come up with a Riddle that Gordon and the police can solve? Perhaps. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing!