Thursday, September 29, 2016

Top Five Nostalgic Mario Games

Ever remember the good ole' days when you've always loved playing your favorite game or form of media, or just anything involving your childhood hero? ...Yeah, be prepared to hear and think of a lot of that while reading this post. Here, I'm counting down the games of my childhood hero Mario that I find to be the most nostalgic. They're the ones that just bring back so many good memories to my head - even if I've slightly had a few bad ones based on moments that frustrated me as a child. Now like previous countdowns I've posted, let me run this by real quick; I am not ranking these games on how good they are, nor how much I like them. I'm ranking them solely based on how much they take me back to my childhood in my own mind and as such yet again, this is another very VERY personal post. That said, I hope you'll enjoy reliving your past times with the plumber as much as I did.

Let the trip down memory lane commence...

Nintendo Gamecube, 2004

The youngest and probably the most anticipated game of my childhood that I've been wanting and have waited with bated breath for upon first learning of it coming in 2004, Thousand-Year Door is so addictive in its storyline when I play through its chapters (even if some are better than others), fetch-quests, and anything else that makes it so replayable, I feel as though I'm on my own adventure that would take me forever to fully complete once I embrace it. The enjoyable thing in my childhood about this game is the obvious turn-based battle system as every RPG has (though every system besides this is totally different) whenever I take an enemy - whether its more Goombas, Koopas, or just any other chapter boss. Fetch quests like the incredibly dangerous and risky Pit of 100 Trails essentially get a bit agonizing, but on the flipside as with every other game out there, sometimes it's fun to be frustrated. I needed a guide for this one cause as a kid, I never ever liked sitting through text that drags on and on forever instead of listening to what the other characters of the game have to say.

Whether or not you want to grippingly follow along with its story, Thousand-Year Door, if you've grown up with it, is a game you can't deny is unbelievably fun even if it took you time to get used to it. The controls were only slightly a bit different from the first game but because I've played the first game before it, I've gotten use to its controls faster than any first-timer with the Paper Mario series usually could. Never could I have had a more fun and creative game in the early 2000s more than this...

Nintendo Gamecube, 2002

The Gamecube title that I could never complete without a guide until my bestest friend of my childhood bought me one, Sunshine was a game that was a bit more tedious than its N64 sequel - but never to the point where I'd want to give up completely, although the same wouldn't go for making it replayable. All of the nostalgic memories come back so much. From the clunky and partially dull cutscenes, to its rather nonsensical voice acting, and the various Shine Sprite "episodes" of each level, the game as a whole, does have that nostalgia charm to it that its one of the best titles on the Gamecube and not just of the plumber. Why wouldn't I love spraying enemies with F.L.U.D.D.? I could never get past the second episode on Gelato Beach though when I had to ground pound those Plungelos on those big mirrors surrounding the giant sand bird egg until unexpectedly RIGHT BEFORE I got a guide from my bestest friend since like 4th or 5th grade. Also, was there a 90s gamer here who didn't take forever to find every last blue coin (up to 240 maximum) just for 24 Shine Sprites? (10 per sprite)

Nintendo 64, 1997

The only multiplayer on the list, there have been games I've lost from one of my lunatic cousins since some of my family has drug or alcohol problems (or both), sometimes even with tabacco, and this has to be one of them. At first as a young child, I wasn't very clever with racing games or any other games that aren't 3D platformers for that matter, so much so, that anyone I played with like one or two of my older sisters were just too good that I'd constantly throw my own hissy fits at them just cause I was really, really poor sport...not mention a little too spoiled. But now that I'm older and looked up FAQs and other cheat codes to video games, I've learned of the various shortcuts of the game like those on say Wario Stadium or Rainbow Road (and I'm not telling them here cause they're gonna have to figure those ones out themselves), I have those tricks up my selves (not to mention skill) to beat them out at anytime, anyday. I've lost my original copy to one of my idiot cousins who's got major problems, but later on after 7th grade when visiting some of my cousins elsewhere, I got another copy (when they just gave it to me)... Oh yeah, did I ever mention a few of my cousins are gamers too above my aunts, uncles, sisters, etc.?

Nintendo 64, 2001

Since its release, I played Paper Mario the minute I was given it by my parents. If some of you should know me better, I've grown up with the N64 like it's my only true love having not one good Mario moment that I personally would not treasure. Starting from the very beginning when the two brothers receive a mail from the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom, when I first start at the beginning of the castle, that's kinda where the bad parts of memories of this game come back to me where you're forced to fail when fighting Bowser since that Star Rod he stole from seven star spirits makes him invincible and your forced to lose the fight when you have no hope of winning. I may have been throwing countless fits after that one unforgivable forced failure Nintendo put into it, but at least we get a good adventure at trying to find all seven spirits when rescuing the princess. It may not be as good to me as its sequel, but no matter how much time flies by, I'll always treasure this little baby as a family heirloom.

Nintendo 64, 1996

Do I ever shut up about this game? Not at this point. Nothing could've have made my life more meaningful with something to make me smile and happy to be with than with this masterpiece as my favorite video game of all time as I've said endlessly stated. Not only is it my first video game I've played but also my most replayable. Collecting all 120 stars has never felt so time-comprising that it took me years to collect some of the few stars I've missed in the past. Be it in high areas I could never find or reach, or even places where I needed to wall kick up to the top of a specific area in a level. I've talked so much about this game since I can't get enough of it above any other game in the franchise. From my most replayable games of the plumber, to all my favorite (and least favorite) levels of it, its amazing soundtrack of its music tracks, the list goes on and on. When people take the challenge of trying to complete the game to 100% in less than 2 hours, I sometimes try, but I'm nowhere near close to accomplishing it to this day. The fastest time I've ever completed it is around 4 hours, but I can still keep trying harder to go fast (maybe set a new record, but mostly go fast).

So everything I've discussed about it before this post goes to show that the game that stuck with me since Day 1 of my life with video games easily earns the Number One spot on this Top Five. Forever my most nostalgic game, my favorite Mario game, and my favorite video game of all time, I don't think that factor will ever change anytime soon.

Dedicated to my loving parents for the gift of video games since age 3 and everything I've ever wanted with my recreational life. I couldn't have imagine how great and fun my life would be from the moment that you gave Mario and gaming, mommy and daddy.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

After the Fact - MLP:FIM ~ Evolution of Discord (Over the Years)

He's my favorite character and I think he forever will be. Welcome to The Super Mario Brony Blog, and today I'm looking at another subject in my After the Facts category: the evolution of Discord, his episodes, and his characterization. For this post, I'm looking every episode of everyone's favorite draconequus and how much they've had an effect on his character over the past several years (albeit when he took a hiatus from major appearances in 2012). Only every episode he's played a major role in will be mentioned here, so cameos like The Cutie Re-Mark are excluded.

Now, let's scroll through his characterization and his episodes over every sequel season...

Easily my favorite episode of Season 2, Harmony comes off to me as a perfect way to debut Discord as a true villain. To be fair though, de Lancie's other character Discord was based off, Star Trek: The Next Generation's Q in this obvious case, didn't start off the exact same way as his MLP counterpart (or at least I don't know that since I haven't seen that much of Next Gen. to be precise). Some may not care about it that much just cause they found Discord's newer self to be better, whilst others loved it and then just basically couldn't accept his redemption later on. For me personally, I give this a perfect rating since even though his reformed personality is better, I thought this was obviously the best way for the show to debut Discord and help him live up to his name and his original purpose in life... before toning it down throughout pretty much the rest of the show.

Whether or not you like it, I myself still praise it on every other conceivable level. The expertly executed pacing by former writer M.A. Larson - which this is also arguably his best episode he's written for MLP (even above masterpieces like Amending Fences), the greatly done humor put into the corrupted Mane Six, that moral of friendship being something worthy fighting for (even if it's not easy), Discord's stellar villainous performance, a more creative storyline than even A Canterlot Wedding, a rewatchable plot (if not one in my Top Ten), the list of reasons why this still holds up as a classic for the series and the fandom goes on and on.

Already my top favorite episode of Season 3, writer Dave Polsky seems to give a great depth of creativity to his episodes he writes for with fantastic development for each and every character he includes in them since after all, he's an expert at writing storylines. Joined by Three's A Crowd (more on that later) as my funniest episode of the show at this point, Flutter On provides not only some good humor moments, but also some heart-melting ones at that. Like when Fluttershy calls Discord her friend and refers to him as a real sweetheart by the end of the episode. Other episodes like Amending Fences have more emotional moments to them (Moon Dancer's breakdown, anypony?), and Polsky may have put some humor (and touching moments as well) into say Brotherhooves Social, but Flutter On provides both emotion and humor. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't understand why some people might hate it, but on the flipside, I find those giving it so much petty hatred to be completely nonsensical.

Everything from its pacing, to its humor and emotional moments as I said, to even the quirky characters and their performances arguably makes Flutter On an amazing masterpiece...

Filled to the brim with major character development, Princess Twilight Sparkle was where Equestria's spirit of chaos himself has gotten his backstory of how he was turned to stone before Twilight and her friends redid it to him two premieres earlier. Arguably the most rewatchable two-parter for its backstory filler, PTS left nothing to be desired from me and is nothing short of another perfect episode for both the draconequus and the show since there's so much to keep coming back to that it's one of the most rewatchable episodes of the show. Hey, characters like him and Sunset just goes to show that having a good redemption for any particular TV series requires serious time and development - even it's more than just one little episode or two. Now I'll just be waiting for more Discord's past to be told before he took over Equestria for the very first time.

One of the most underrated episodes of the series in my opinion, Crowd also has to be the other episode where Discord was at his funniest. We got moments like him spreading his flu to Rarity and Applejack before interrupting Twilight and Cadance and their quality time of their weekend together, his Aladdin-parody song Glass of Water (not be confused with the Coldplay song of the same name), and even the ending when the Tatzlwurm sneezed all over him before cutting to the scene of Fluttershy's cottage where Discord is being cared for by Fluttershy and the others during his actual sickness of being green. He may have been just messing with the two princesses, but not without reason for Twilight. The plot where Discord secretly made Twilight test her friendship with him was entertainingly epic and may have just a teensy bit harmful for her, but he was at least trying to see he was still friends with one of the most important ponies around (as he'd put it).

Half the time I do and half the time I don't understand just what's wrong with a newly reformed anti-villain just testing one of his newest friends, but if there's any other honor this episode deserves when making it entertaining and hilarious, it's that of being countlessly rewatchable. And no pun intended, but I seriously think this is one of those episodes that really deserves, as I said, a better rep.

Obviously my favorite MLP episode of all time to this day, Twilight's Kingdom is where Discord briefly went from his newly reformed good to his old unreformed bad self throughout half the plot. Betraying his friends, especially Fluttershy may not be something I could come back to in the episode, but Twilight helping set him free from Tirek sure was a great way to help him learn from his past transgressions. I don't see how redemption for a character could get any greater than that one time Discord learned it the hard way after being fooled of course. Even if you still don't admire Discord's new leaf of making amends with everypony else, you should still view this plot as just plain perfect since of course we Tirek as another awesome antagonist, hilarious moments from Discord, two good songs (one per part), perfect pacing for everyone of its plot points, and just... well, everything else! Some users not calling it good - at least from what I've heard on Deviantart? What nonsense.

There's really not much else I can say here other than every single major character was developed greatly, even if Kingdom hasn't given more than enough like Princess Twilight Sparkle did.

Current Rating(s):
(^ All Five Episodes ^)

Has my opinion on this changed? Not at all. Jealousy is one of my most hated feelings of emotions which is why I don't really like Green Isn't Your Color that much, but Make New Friends but Keep Discord is one exception of jealousy episodes I can make. As he's been in Flutter On and Crowd, Discord was completely likable as Levinger was one of the writers who took his true character traits into account. Sure, I still hate seeing characters go all jealous and everything, but sometimes even things like that can be done right. I still have that one little grudge of the episode that is Fluttershy's undeveloped and unoriginally random hippie friend Tree Hugger, but she didn't ruin the episode entirely as the Smooze can more than make up for most of her part. The other thing that adds to this episode's imperfection is not just her, but Pinkie's sister Maud making Discord look like an idiot in front of the entire Gala because really I felt a lot more sorry for him than I did with any other character surrounding him. This may not be a perfect episode, but for the most part, my opinion on it still hasn't changed.

Current Rating:

Really, why's Pinkie the only one who's not looking disappointed with him?

Nowadays a part of my Top FIVE Worst Episodes of Friendship Is Magic (YIKES!), What About Discord? was one of those episodes that, as you may know, I felt I was being far, FAR too naive-ishly generous towards. This is primarily due to all the respect I've been waiting for Discord to finally get from his friends since throughout the series (even after Twilight's Kingdom) since he's not been treated fairly from anyone other Fluttershy - which this also goes bonus NEGATIVE points for making it look as though this is only the FIRST TIME they've ever gotten along when they've clearly bonded before this! Ignoring everything else, inculding Twilight's unfair treatment, I felt it was so joyful seeing how Discord was having the time his life with the Mane Five over the past weekend whilst the thing Twilight was doing still looks pretty stupid to me. I may back Twilight up just cause she didn't do anything wrong but on the small flipside, she really should do something more than just activities with books - like play a fun video game or whatever.

At this point with this episode being one case, it seems Discord's newer episodes are becoming more and more imperfect like the show itself after Season 4. Dusedau may have derailed my favorite character here as did
  • Sonneborn w/Applejack and Luna
  • Confalone w/Pinkie, Twilight and Trixie
  • Haber w/Sci-Twi and Starlight
  • Rapp w/the Wonderbolts
  • Marco w/Rainbow Dash
but I have to say that for those who hated him immediately after this aired, you shouldn't hate a wonderful character like him just cause he was portrayed terribly for just one little episode. In all fairness, I would've accepted this detestably painful trash if it was Tree Hugger instead of Twilight since I completely hate that hippie for what she did to Discord, but this is just me. So I may give this episode a small bit of credit for Twilight's respectable enough performance as well as a couple of those eye-catching references throughout some of the plot, but sadly, for its lackluster writing, poorly done put-you-to-sleep pacing, stupid and questionable humor, unfair treatment towards Twilight, confusing storyline with one too many plotholes, a terribly mean-spirited moral (which just goes to show why I absolutely hate that feeling of jealousy even if I'm allowed to feel it), and basically just how terrible Discord was here (more than Twilight's friends since they eventually pulled themselves together before secretly helping her get even with Discord, though I felt his punishment wasn't quite severe enough), What About Discord? is best left forgotten about for an eternity.

(New) Current Rating:

I know I said I didn't like it that much just cause it barely even lives up to its title unlike something like say Power Ponies, but now that I've given most of its moments a few rewatches, I could consider Discord's performance above Spike's and Big Mac's despite that they too gave stellar performances here something that makes up for it. I still have minor problems with it like a bit of its pacing and that Discord didn't exactly give the game true life via the cardboard cutouts of Squizard and the minions (not to mention the rushed ending which left even more to be desired), but on the bright side, I could watch pretty much every last moment of my favorite character for how much Confalone made him likably lovable here after how much Dusedau wrecked him in his previous outing. Besides, this is at least a breath of fresh air after three poorly written episodes of the past three weeks before it.

This may have had missed opportunities, but I'm just completely relieved they didn't include other things I hated like too much boringness, unnecessary cruelty, character derailment, unoriginally bad redemptions or even my most despised character of the series (Starlight Glimmer the pointlessly unneeded plot device). If they're really going impress me with Discord as the main focus (although I don't exactly prefer Confalone to write it and rather an expert like say Vogel (despite how terrible he was with the questionably atrocious Every Little Thing She Does)), McCarthy or Polsky), why not just make a video game-based storyline portraying something like Disney's Wreck-It Ralph? Just be sure to pace it expertly and don't leave much to be desired (or any for that matter).

(New) Current Rating:

Discord's Character

Every good character within great cartoons have had their fair share of flaws within themselves since like humans, nobody's exactly perfect. With a character like Discord, he shouldn't be viewed as bad just cause there's only one dark spot in his appearances on the show. For the most part, you may have hated him in WAD? only, but the rest of the time you just can't get enough of him. If you hate him, you're entitled to your opinion as I respect it, but don't be rubbing it in my face just cause I don't look at his flaws clearly enough to rank him at the accurate spot on my personal favorites list. He may be a difficult character to write for as all other characters (most of the time), but leave all the writing to anyone but those who are either just losing more and more hope or those that have derailed characters for the worst like Dusedau of course is what should be taken into account. Unlike Starlight "Plot Device" Glimmer, Discord (alongside Sunset Shimmer) is a reformed character with true charm and deserves his rep of being loved by many and shouldn't be viewed as a horrible figure for MLP just cause of THAT one episode, his imperfect personality or his redemption.

You may have a hard time taking my points for granted if you're now a die hard hater of him (or have been since Day 1), but sometimes you just need time to rethink/reconsider your thoughts and opinion on him - and I'll give you that time if you wish. However, if you think I should reconsider the same on Starlight, I'm afraid I won't do the same simply because she was completely derailed since Part 2 of The Cutie Re-Mark obviously. All those may be just my honest expressing of the random character trolling, Fluttershy fanboy, anti-hero/villain, but I just want all of you die hard haters of him to at least understand all of these facts/points I'm making.

Retrospect Episode Rankings

#8 - What About Discord?

#7 - Dungeons & Discords

#6 - Make New Friends but Keep Discord

#5 - Three's A Crowd

#4 - Princess Twilight Sparkle

#3 - Keep Calm and Flutter On

#2 - The Return of Harmony

#1 - Twilight's Kingdom

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 26, 2016

MLP:FIM Review - Every Little Thing She Does (S6, E21, P129, OE138)

Ripping off Lesson Zero like what Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep? did, Every Little Thing She Does is the Starlight episode of struggling to help learn her friendship lessons. Writer Mike Vogel has impressed me with Spice Up Your Life and Stranger Than Fan Fiction (while also helping Kevin Burke and Chris "Doc" Wyatt with the ever so perfected story for Viva Las Pegasus), but as if The Times They Are a Changeling wasn't poorly done enough, Every Little Thing She Does failed even more since none of it felt any bit clear nor even executed decently. I know most of you will wanted to tear me apart to pieces for considering it, but I just can't see anything surprisingly positive about this waste of Lesson Zero ripoff.

And as you all know, a major Spoiler Alert! is totally in order here.

Starlight's been excelling in her magic, but a Twilight discovers that she's been lacking in doing her friendship lessons and give her some to do while she and Spike are away in Canterlot for the day. Wishing to tackle all the lessons at once, she recruits her friends, who feel as though they can't do all of their lessons at the same time. Desperate, Starlight hypnotized the ponies to do their individual activity, but Starlight's efforts in her plan end up making a huge mess in the castle. Twilight returns and reverses the hypnosis spell and tells Starlight that the purpose of her lessons was to get to know her friends more. After reconciling with the ponies, the mane six clean up the castle together together and Starlight manages to get her lessons done in one day.

I think what makes me hate ELTSD so much was what I was expecting from it as I found the plot to be completely gimmicky like LZ's previous rehash, DPDoMS? and utterly predictable. The humor went nowhere as Starlight didn't even take to any level like Zero did whereas her hypnotizing of the Mane Five was just corny and cringe-worthy. People may view its pacing as nicely done, but I don't see it since you shouldn't even try rushing too many friendship lessons at once. Speaking of lessons, this episode's moral felt completely forced on Starlight and was a lazy attempt to do too many things one at a time. Now don't get me wrong. Lesson Zero is a fantastic episode (which thankfully didn't make a character like Twilight learn too many things at once and instead just allowed her to find at least one problem to get back on track with her friendship schedule with Celestia), but trying to redo it shouldn't be a thing cause if it ain't broke, don't fix it! I would've added that to my Top Ten Untouchable Episodes list as I said, but since it already got Magic Sheep?, I felt it was just too late to include it...

For mean-spiritedness, I felt this episode wasn't so big on it but that still doesn't make up for the fact that Starlight didn't just take things one at a time by herself and I also felt she didn't have true intelligence with what to do on these various tasks with her (and obviously Twilight's) friends. This could have at least worked and earned a little more respectability from me if there was only one lesson and not just to much in one forced moral on Starlight. If any of you want me to give this episode at least one small pro, then I guess I'll just say it's Twilight's performance since unlike No Second Prances, her snapping at Starlight was reasonable, whereas her's in Prances felt hypocritically upsetting to the point where (at least) I myself wanted to punch her severely. The Mane Six could've come off as a great but Starlight forcingly destroyed that opportunity by putting them under a spell like they're robots and doing stuff only when commanded without any real feelings or emotion. That force on them of which felt completely silly to me.

Every Little Thing She Does as I expected it to be since I obviously had no hope for you-know-who after reexamining The Cutie Re-Mark, is not even close to being a respectably good episode. With a predictably stupid and cliched plot and pacing, dull and uncanny humor like What About Discord? is (via Discord's inside "jokes"), a terribly forced and rushed moral of featuring too many small "lessons" in one, a poor attempt at giving Starlight the proper characterization, and a lack of clever entertainment (even though most of you tend to disagree), I just can't see any potential within it. Mike Vogel may have been off to a fine start with the rather okay A Hearth's Warming Tail, but even after masterpieces like Fan Fiction, there are dark spots he clearly needs to learn from. Whether or not you view my statements as reasonable, that's because YOU'RE ALL DIFFERENT and so am I.

As a whole, I felt pretty much all of ELTSD's opportunities were wasted stripping the episode of any similarly stellar quality of its predecessor and lacking anything new or special with a plot that felt like it was stuffing itself up with one too many plotholes. There has been a lot that left me to be desired like Starlight learning new things like Pinkie's cake-baking (and it especially made no sense that in Re-Mark, she instantly made cakes with her, yet here it's like she's never even done cooking in her life) and this could've have been done much better if it was basically just split up into five different episodes like when the Mane Six were searching for the keys to the Chest of Harmony, but we rather got just an installment that just rushed everything like Starlight did with an anxious attitude done in the wrong way unlike Twilight right after the Season 2 Finale. People may think I'm not open-minded to Starlight's episodes, but that's because unless they can just redevelop her in a different sense alongside another thing (I'll explain once I rate this), then I'll just keep hoping that she'll be scrapped from MLP for good. For LZ ripoffs, let's hope third time's the charm... On second though, let's hope there's absolutely NO third time!

Monday, September 19, 2016

MLP:FIM Review - Viva Las Pegasus (S6, E20, P128, OE137)

It's been three months now since the last Cutie Map-themed episode revolving around two of our main characters going somewhere across Equestria to solve a friendship problem. With Rainbow Dash's and Twilight's episode Top Bolt having yet to come right before the season finale in the next month, Fluttershy's and Applejack's Viva Las Pegasus now after Pinkie's and Rarity's Spice Up Your Life has gotten even higher quality in positive reception thanks to its charming plot and creative concept. And the end result results in an episode that's just as incredible as Pinkie's and Rainbow Dash's griffon-tastic adventure in The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone.

And before I move on, let this review once again serve as your major Spoiler Alert!.

The Cutie Map sends Applejack and Fluttershy to a popular Las Pegasus resort run by a generous pony named Gladmane. The two have trouble finding a friendship problem to solve until they encounter con artist brothers Flim and Flam in the middle of a feud. Fluttershy speculates that their mission is to help the brothers reconcile, but Applejack, out of her family's bitter history with the two, wants nothing to do with them. While searching for other problems, Applejack and Fluttershy discover Gladmane has been turning his employees, including Flim and Flam, against each other to ensure their trust and continued services at his hotel. After Fluttershy and a reluctant Applejack reveal Gladmane's duplicity to Flim and Flam, the brothers help them devise an elaborate scheme to trick Gladmane into revealing his plans to the public. Once Gladmane is exposed, Flim and Flam promptly take over the establishment to resume their con business together.

What sets the tone of Viva Las Pegasus's seemingly perfect pitch of storytelling and creativity is how much of a new idea it came to give itself and how it took the idea of having two hated characters like Flim and Flam and actually making them reasonably likable here when trouble started going about with everypony after they started out just fine when Applejack and Fluttershy first arrived. Characterization has been done greatly and particularly Gladmane is the love-to-hate kind of character whom you simply enjoy seeing get his comeuppance unlike other characters like The Mane Attraction's Svengallop (who was seen in one background shot on Fluttershy's and Applejack's lunch breaks) who deserve their's but are straight up hatable instead of "enjoyably" hatable. In contrast, there's simply nothing wrong with any character here and they've all been written magnificently.

The plot has been paced excellently with Applejack's and Fluttershy's investigation going on and coming across as enjoyable when finding out the true mystery of Gladmane's true self and how Flim and Flam and them worked together as a team. It's especially enjoyable when you see them try to prove Gladmane's true character to Las Pegasus even it's only over the intercom and not in front of the everyone else. Two fantastic morals has been delivered greatly as well proving that showing con people kindness would help a situation like proving trickster guilty and using history of two your own enemies to make yourself so determined help you find out what a trickster was doing adds to making them necessary for a good plot.

Viva Las Pegasus will blow your mind, fascinate you, and entertain you with everything good it provides. The Fault in Our Cutie Marks may have been astonishing, but Las Pegasus delivers even more charm and stellar potential to Season 6 with an more creative style of layout, pacing and a storyline. Flim and Flam may not be the best characters of the show, nor are they some others might like, but they, for this episode were just outstanding aside from AJ and Fluttershy - not to mention Gladmane the love-to-hate character here. With a huge entertainment factor, two greatly delivered morals, quirky character traits and a perfected plot, Viva Las Pegasus is every bit as watchable as it is likable.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

After the Fact - A Big Day for Me (Yesterday)

No, it's not my time of a marriage, it's two of my closest friends from where I live now.

Now for something really different in my After the Facts category: An event from yesterday September 17th, 2016. I've moved down from my hometown in July of 2015 - one year after I became attracted to My Little Pony and joined the fandom of bronies, and the time I started up this blog. For this post, I'm discussing a topic of two of my closest friends from my new hometown I've moved downed to for nearly (just nearly) a year now. I'll be discussing all the things we've done together before this very special event and how much I've come to know and love as we've bonded with each other over the past couple months. You won't be seeing any photos from the big day although I do have one edited photo of it on my Instagram, but that's about it... Anyways, moving on.

Any questions about where we all are and where we have been will be ignored and deleted on whichever post they're on (whether it's on here, Facebook, Twitter or whereever).

How I Came to Know Them

My reaction to first meeting them wasn't like Pinkie's here though...

I met them in a congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses (which I'm a part of) when we regularly associate with our worldwide brotherhood, and it was only then when one from elsewhere moved down while the other had been living there longer than I have in my own old hometown when I eventually developed a relationship together at random when we'd randomly come across each other and say "what's up?" and stuff and talked random subjects. I eventually got into conversation with the one who moved down in my place recently while the other I didn't really get along with that much after a few small problems I had with myself (and sometimes still do have today) when it comes to approaching my friends and some strangers. It wasn't until we were all out and about going from house to house and around when we truly got into conversations upon learning that they're born around my generation in the 90s and people born in that decade (with maybe a few from the 80s) are the kind of aged people I get along with the most - mainly those who are either five years older or younger than me but that's beside the point.

Upon the first time we went out together, that was when I eventually went into conversation and eventually brought up my love for My Little Pony since July 2014 (after hearing of it near the end of 2013). Among the few others things I've done with them during our time of bondage, I've played MLP card games with them a few times at two get-togethers with one being at their place during a night of watching Pixar's Finding Nemo and the other at my most recent get together from exactly two months ago when I had my 2nd Bronyversary. I found it even harder to get along with new people since I've lived back in my own place for two entire decades before moving else where, but eventually when I had them to bond with, things have been a little easier for me now if not entirely since sometimes I feel I have no purpose just cause all of my own friends are often busy and stuff while I'm available 24/7.

What Makes Them Such Amazing People for Me

I don't know about a baby shower from them, but it'd sure make for another
interesting highlight in my relationship/friendship with them...

Everyone knows it's important to have friends in your life since you're much more miserable and have absolutely no purpose in your life if you don't. I felt I had no friends whatsoever when I first moved away from my hometown and where I am now since making friends can sometimes be more hard than it is easy, but above other friends I met and made in the congregation, I felt like getting along with them the most starting with he that moved down here most recently to be with his fiance (my other friend) whom I talked to a couple times but hardly ever until more so with the first time we all ever went out going door to door. Expressing myself overtime with them, with less of their backstory and lifetime events being told to me, probably cause I take my own life a little too seriously and am into it a lot more than I am into anyone else's, they eventually came to understand more of the show as we've bonded together alongside my other subject of both Mario and video games, not to mention other great movies and TV shows from our childhoods with a true charm of nostalgia.

Everytime a new episode airs (as of Season 6 currently) I'd tell them how I felt they were although I've explained hardly anything of their plots, but I just blurt out if I felt they were good or bad. Just because MLP is what I can't shut up about the next time I come across them when I meet together, it doesn't mean My Little Pony or just anything of myself only should come to mind and in conversation with them, as widening out opens you up to more things than just those you already have. If there's anyone I can go to when I don't really have anyone other than myself to express some of my thoughts and current statuses, it's them. I mean sure, I have other friends back in my old home since for like... well, ever, but since I'm somewhere else now, I feel most of the time I have them- maybe a few others on the flipside, but still them for the most part. Sure MLP's a huge thing in my life but so are they. And I feel if I had to choose them over the show, I'd rather lose something that teaches friendship than an actual friendship I already have and don't need to be taught about...

The Time of Their Eternal Uniting

When I've always wondered whenever I'd finally get to see my two greatest friends from where I currently live now unite in love and union for life, they've finally decided it a month before their big day. The bad thing about it was when they were too busy to even hang out one last time before the bondage. I know it'll be for those of you too who will be a uniting marriage, but sometimes it's difficult and I can only imagine how my wedding will eventually go though unlike most however I would secretly spice it up myself while my own fiance wasn't looking. Yesterday for their big day, I waited for quite a time with my younger brother to finally get to see them together again when they came, and guess what the coolest thing about their arrival was...? A truck-like limousine. It stopped by in our neighborhood before the reception close by which I had no idea it was them, but that's just me (and my brother to be precise). Now that they're on their honeymoon though, I feel I should bring them a little surprise soon, but that I would have to keep to myself, but maybe I'll say it in another similar post for another day...

In no way is my life completely trashed if less perfect than it was in my old home when I moved down to my current home as these two charming friends of mine have encouraged me and still continue to do so to keep being adjusted to your new life just as they are now adjusting to their's together. This may be a very personal post, but I had to write this for how much my two closest friends around my area meant so much to me that I just had to make an entire post dedicated to such amazing people they are and have been when they've taught me so much as to keep being a better person in life. I plan on watching the MLP Season 2 Finale A Canterlot Wedding with them when we spend another little man-father, mother, and son quality time together, but I'm losing my patience and hoping that we can do immediately once they get back from their private time together. So I'll now be waiting with as much patience as possible to come together with them again very soon so I'll be hibernating until I do............. just kidding!

Dedicated to my loving friends Tim and Abby whom I've known for quite a few months now and whom I playfully call my man-child parents since I feel I've bonded the most and closest with them during our times together. I love you two very much and I hope we'll always be friends to the very end.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Top Ten Replayable Mario Games

Hey, I haven't played that one in quite a while... Let's play it again. Welcome back to another Mario-related post, and here I'm counting my picks for the Top Ten Replayable Games. As I've similarly said on my list on my Top Ten Rewatchable Episodes of MLP, (only this here is with video games and Mario instead TV and ponies), I'm looking at those games of the goomba-stomping, mushroom-eating plumber that you could play a million times, because they never get old. For this list, I'm also only looking at games that are primarily about completing it to 100% with an adventurous storyline, so multiplayers like Mario Kart and Mario Party are excluded. I haven't played every game in the franchise (and I don't think anybody has other than critics), meaning if you don't see a game you think should've made this list, then I apologize that I never got to play it... and maybe I might remake this countdwon if I play even more replayable games but for now, let's play through all of these entries again.

I should also say it doesn't matter how many times I've replayed these games over and over again nor how many times I've completed them at 100%, it's mainly about how much I prefer them over other titles.

(Nintendo DS, 2005)

There have been plenty of RPGs I've played since age six with 2001's Paper Mario. With the Mario & Luigi series, there's plenty to explore alongside more than enough fetch quests, and Partners in Time alongside pretty much every other Role-Playing Mario Game are no exceptions.Taking place traveling through time, we follow our two main protagonists as they team up with their younger baby selfs to help save the past from the evil clutches of the alienated Shroobs. Although it may be a little difficult in its gameplay mainly when you don't level up enough when taking on the game's bosses and its fetch quests aren't exactly major like the first few Paper Mario games, there's still so much fun to be had when playing through each of the game's various designed worlds and levels. You'll get better and better as you level up and learn the battle system cause practice obviously makes perfect, though every game's battle systems are different from others and every single one from the plumber is something completely different even if Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on the Super Nintendo bares a strongly similar system with that of Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger.

(Nintendo DS, 2009)

Whether you like Superstar Saga or Partners in Time more, you can't deny that Bowser's Inside Story (as the third game in its series) is another good RPG since you can play as Bowser. I haven't played it in like a super long while, but Bowser's Inside Story is one I could replay countlessly since its always fun to level up the Mario Bros. and the King of Koopas not to mention full of great minigames like getting the best record on the characters' special moves like Bowser's armies of Goombas, Koopas, Magikoopas, you name well as moves like Green Shells, Fire Flowers and shooting stars from the Mushroom Kingdom's heroic plumbers. The usual gameplay with the story is great too but putting everything in like the special moves and various side quests are some of the most important things about making a Mario game like this more and more replayable for those of you who have it on your DS that you obviously even play on your 3DS via backwards compatibility (like the Wii does with your GC games and the Wii U with your Wii games).

(Nintendo Wii U, 2012)

When it comes to 2D side-scrolling platforms, Mario always seems to be at the very top on each console of Nintendo. Spicing up itself by changing a few if not a lot of things from its predecessors, especially the previous sequels to the first game, New Super Mario Bros. U's replayability has to come from collecting all those star coins throughout each level in the game in 9 different worlds (three coins per level). It may get a little tedious since you never know exactly were all of them are and would take quite a very long time to find, but whether or not you co-op with your buddies on it, you just can't stop playing just cause you want to complete it all over again. I would have given a shout out to the other package that came with it when it was released with the console (at least when I first got my Wii U), New Super Luigi U, but that game just wasn't as interesting as this original installment of the newer series of Super Mario Bros. games and was rather difficult when given a short time limit on each level that recycles pretty much all of those of NSMBU. Nevertheless, this is one you'll playing for a long time when you wanna replay a game that you could play on your Wii U that isn't an intense multiplayer like Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros.

(Nintendo Wii, 2007/2010)

There are so many unforgettable moments within these two masterpieces on the Wii, that they'll always remain classics in the future for Mario games to come. Let's see what makes them so great: the perfect use of gravity in a space-centered video game, doubled amount of stars to collect from the first two 3D platformer installments (with two extra added in), incredible levels to play through which are more open then other titles, and let's not forget that added into collecting half the amount of stars in the game (or at least just the first one), you play as Luigi. The first game may not have Yoshi like the sequel does, but since most elements are recycled between the two, that's what makes them more and more replayable that it would take you quite a time. It's only lower though cause I beat them in only one week. Not much challenge is in the second game unlike the first, but who should really complain about it?

(Nintendo 3DS, 2011)

Whether you like home consoles or handhelds better for your own gaming experience, 3D Land is one game you could keep replaying from time to time when it's one of the last few games left to play on your 3DS. When your out of things to do and you have your 3DS with you, you can always just keep playing through your favorite levels of 3D Land whether or not you start another game if you've already completed it. But still the amount of times you've completed or played it above any others you found to be more replayable shouldn't entirely matter, because it's mainly about how much you love games like it and how much you just can't stop coming back to them at random. And this is one of those cases. Also, were any of you gamers not mind-blown by its incredible 3D effects as shown in levels like World 5-2?

(Nintendo Wii U, 2013)

Both 3D titled installments are truly that replayable to plenty of redeeming factors to them. Though co-op doesn't entirely matter and playing levels up to like five times get tedious as other side quests do, it's still worth to unlock things like every last stick you earn as you progress on throughout the game itself. Recycling power-ups like that super awesome Mega Mushroom from the first New Super Mario Bros. in 2006 and introducing new ones like the Cat Bell, there's so much to keep playing through that you'll practically be doing it for weeks...maybe even months. You'll even be replaying through all of your favorite levels across every world in the game including the bonus world once you beat the final boss for the first time. I don't care that much about co-op in any adventurous Mario game on this list, I just want them to have so much value to them that I could keep playing them forever.

(Nintendo 64, 2001)

Yep. You had to have guessed even Paper Mario would make my list of Mario games with unlimited playability. Balancing its difficult and fetch quests outside the main adventure when trying to save the princess from Mario's arch-nemesis (as usual), the original Paper Mario always brings back so many memories since I've treasured it in my collection of games (and have never been able to give it up or away to anyone else) since Day 1. Unlike Super Paper Mario on the Wii, which you won't be seeing here, there's not one TOO MANY side quests added into its gameplay that you'll even irritated, since SPM often gets a little repetitive with its quests like learning (and cooking up) all the recipes, getting every last character on the game's bosses and enemies for your card collection, etc. You honestly owe to yourself to play this again, cause if you haven't then I think you'll be missing out on entertainment with video games in general and will get completely bored whenever you're not doing anything with other forms of media like television and movies.

(Nintendo Gamecube, 2004)

While the N64 Paper Mario was fantastic in its replayability, I had to give its sequel a higher spot due to one major factor: replay value. With a setting outside the Mushroom Kingdom focusing on our titular hero as he teams up various partners across the lands surrounding Rogueport to help save Princess Peach after she gets kidnapped yet again, only by alien creatures known as the X-Nauts (and not Bowser, although to be fair he does play a purposeful role in the game if not a big one), this sequel to the original takes everything great from its predecessor and improves upon them. Exploration, enemies, bosses, you get the idea. If it weren't for the whole replay value part added in, they both would've been a tie here. Aside from a few small easter eggs like places in the Mushroom Kingdom and other different characters making cameo besides (Spoiler Alert!) one of Mario's previous partners, the only thing (above all else that) I missed in the first game that wasn't here was access to the Mario Bros. home (a teensy bit more than Peach's Castle). You'd have to be an utterly uninteresting and boring gamer to not wanna replay this game more than once.

(Nintendo DS, 2006)

Though I did play the 3DS sequel, the original New Super Mario Bros. I have to say is not only the most replayable, but also the best. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a great game and all, but all of the sequels have recycled most of the first game's music and gameplay elements and remixed them, but that's not entirely to say that's a bad thing. I prefer the original game though since it's been for like ever (though I've lost my first copy of it and didn't get another one until sometime later on) and its the easiest for me to complete entirely from beginning to end. Sure, there are minigames outside the main game itself, but due to being recycled from Super Mario 64 DS, they aren't anything entirely special or different for the game they originated from. I could play the minigames more often than not, but the main game of side-scrolling from level to level is what I stick with the most no doubt.

Before I play through my final pick once more, here are a few
Honorable Mentions
(Nintendo Entertainment System, 1988)
(Nintendo Wii, 2009)
(Super Nintendo Entertainment System, 1990)

(Nintendo 64, 1996)

That's right. My favorite video game of all time, let alone of the plumber is the one I could replay for the rest of my life until my hands are completely gone. One of the easiest games on both the N64 and Mario, 64 is where we're first introduced to Peach's Castle and where you go explore over 20 levels within it (fifteen of them of which are the big ones). Collecting all 120 stars literally only took me four hours to complete which I can't even go that fast and set a world record to do it under less than two, but that's what makes this masterpiece even more replayable for me. You could do the same by replaying it countless times trying to go as fast as you can to be one of them that could beat it in less than you know how long. Whereas Sunshine gets kind of on the tedious side via the 240 blue coins to find (and get 24 of 120 of the shine sprites (instead of stars) all around Isle Delfino) with a little bit unbalanced difficulty, Super Mario 64 balances all of that correctly that you'll just want to keep playing through all those awesome levels countless times.

Can I myself complete this in less than two hours? I may just have to keep replaying this (whether or not I get really bored) to get better and better if I haven't already done so.

Do you agree with my list? Which Mario games could you play over and over again?

For more mind-blowing posts posted every week, be sure to tune in to The Super Mario Brony Blog.

Thanks for reading!

MLP:FIM Review - The Fault in Our Cutie Marks (S6, E19, P127, OE136)

The Cart Before the Ponies by Ed Valentine didn't do so well due to sluggish pacing and poorly done portrayals of great characters like Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Rarity. With The Fault in Our Cutie Marks though, I feel Valentine has done himself justice in that sense by learning from his mistakes (whether or not he's realized them) and gave something spectacular with more and more great portrayals and personality from the Cutie Mark Crusaders - which I feel was a huge improvement from the outstanding if a teensy bit imperfect On Your Marks by Josh Haber and Dave Polsky.

And be warned as always that a Spoiler Alert! is in order here.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders are visited by Gabby, a griffon who desires a cutie mark of her own after witnessing Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash's previous friendship mission in Griffonstone. Knowing that it is unlikely for griffons to have cutie marks, the Crusaders try anyway by taking Gabby through a list of helpful activities to see if she gets one. Although Gabby excels at everything she attempts, no cutie mark appears, and the Crusaders despairingly realize that their task is impossible. Feeling sorry for the Crusaders, Gabby surprises them by revealing a fake cutie mark she has "earned", but the three soon discover the truth when she suddenly tries to leave. The Crusaders determine that Gabby, despite her lack of a mark, still has a purpose in life by helping others; the three make her an honorary member of the Cutie Mark Crusaders so she can help her fellow griffons as they have done.

Up there with likes of Flight to the Finish and On Your Marks, The Fault in Our Cutie Marks is yet another way to show off the Crusader's true character and how determined they are to change the lives of many ponies. Along with a stellar sound deign with incredible voice acting and another good song to be sung greatly with suitable lyrics on what the song represents which I feel this season hasn't had since On Your Marks, TFiOCM also has outdone itself in animation and storytelling. Having incredible pacing and spot on character portrayals unlike Valentine's previous episode The Cart Before the Ponies, the plot shows that another griffon like Gabby can become a good new character who's willing to seek help from fantastic near-regular characters like the Crusaders.

Inserted into it is another good moral like last week's Buckball Season, about feeling good inside instead of something your at and at the same time that you don't need a symbol on your flank to be reminded or know of that was delivered expertly like most other Cutie Mark Crusaders episodes have done. A lot was desired and for this episode, I felt I truly got it which was always a surprise for me to come across in an episode like this. Gabby as a character was as good as Gilda was after a redemption with a reasonable backstory that even recalls the events of The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone and I felt she was developed greatly if not a perfect character when she was a little too overhyped when meeting the Crusaders. Oh, and did I mention the ending was on a good note when it truly showed that cutie marks shouldn't matter to griffons and at least something like a mailbag clip-like badge should do just fine for them?

Everything from The Fault in Our Cutie Marks's moral, animation, sound design, storyline and pacing just goes to show that Ed Valentine can be stellar writer once more like he truly was back in Season 4 with both Flight to the Finish and Three's A Crowd especially. He may have failed with The Cart Before the Ponies, but at least even he can learn from his mistakes and impress audiences whether or not any of it was expected. Some episodes like Gauntlet of Fire may have earned a perfect rating for various reasons despite unlikable characters like the teen dragons recurring, but with this episode, I felt I could ignore flaws like how Gabby started off (although sometimes I hate that her name obviously reminds me of Ponyville Confidential since the Crusaders had a name like that when being force to gossip badly about all of Ponyville but that's still nothing of a major concern) or even some fantastic characters like Zecora only being brief cameos instead of ones who play a major role. With everything serving as a true purpose and an even greater storyline than most other CMC-themed episodes, TFiOCM is one such example of how you can give a strongly flawed season some good reputation.