For me, it has always been viciously entertaining to take the abnormalities of fiction and impress them with my own mindscape of reality. To demonstrate this, I have gathered seven of the most perplexing wonders of the gaming world for a no-holds-barred, no-stone-unturned evaluation. And I’m not talking about cracking “which came first, the Yoshi or the egg?” riddles either– this will go much deeper than that. These mysteries will both confound and amaze you.
Each nut will be imbued with a twinge of humor, of course. Lighthearted contemplation is the only way to survive the horrors of admitting that we may not yet fully understand the unknown. This is aided by the fact that I cannot help it.
Fortunately (and through a series of long distance phone calls), I have been graciously bestowed with the honor of being accompanied by master puzzle solver Professor Hershel Layton. After each question I ask, he will put in his own two
cents pence of revelatory speculation as only he can. So without further ado, let us begin.
Question #1: Where are Link’s parents?
Since 1986, we have lived the lives of at least ten different Links. Yet through it all, we have never officially been given even an iota of an inkling as to any of their biological parents save one short reference to one of their mothers in Ocarina of Time. Each Link grew up quite differently; but without fail none of them have ever been raised by a parent.
Surprisingly, the abolishment of parents in fiction is more common than you might realize. Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins are just a few of the mainstream pop culture protagonists who were raised by caretakers. But in their defense, these three series at least offer fans with an explanation as to the parents’ whereabouts. This consistent lack of such important anecdotes in The Legend of Zelda is where the narrative shines dimmest.
The reason I say this is because every Link thus far has been between the ages of nine and nineteen, and most of them have lived alone or in a commune with no domestic authority whatsoever. With so many incarnations, I find it difficult to accept that every last one of them is an orphan. This dilemma will likely not be remedied with the upcoming Skyward Sword either, since it has been announced that Link will begin the game living in a boarding school.
|Layton: If you want to reduce the amount of familial complications in a story, first omit the parents. And only bring them into the mix when it is necessary to advance the plotline. Until then, use an uncle or a grandparent.|
Question #2: Why does King K. Rool want bananas when he’s a crocodile?
When my brother pitched this one to me a few weeks back, I was confounded. I had never once before contemplated the bizarreness of the scenario. Crocodiles do not eat bananas! Their diet consists of fish, birds, mammals and the occasional smaller crocodile! So what would the king of reptiles want with a gorilla-sized hoard of the yellow fruit? To this I can find no answer.
|Layton: I see no reason to fret here. K. Rool is a tyrant, and his abduction of Donkey Kong’s most prized possessions is simply an act of intimidation, much like the kidnapping of a high-ranking official’s only daughter. Pardon the vernacular, but you could say that King K. Rool is “calling out” the Kongs and learning them the status quo.|
Question #3: How does Fox McCloud see in space when he’s wearing sunglasses?
After Team Starfox made a perfect run through the Lylat System and defeated the evil Andross, Fox decided to put on a pair of shades in honor of his late, great father, James. I’m not saying this wasn’t an excellent way of memorializing him, but those flipping sunglasses are likely what got his dad killed in the first place! I know the average fox’s eyesight is pretty keen, but I hardly believe that James would’ve wanted his son to even potentially meet the same fate by making the same mistake of unnecessarily risking his life just so he can look cool in space.
|Layton: To suppose that a pair of sunglasses with all its ocular disruption for seeing at distances, for admitting limited amounts of light, and for increasing the chronic aberration within a person’s tunnel vision, would be donned by a professional pilot, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. However, Fox’s level of skill may permit flying blindly; which while still foolish, could hypothetically allow him to play fairly against his peers and enemies with a sort of concessible handicap. It is possible that the visor is only tinted on one side, as well. This would obviously be the much wiser choice.
For the record, I also willingly believe that James McCloud’s conversation with his son during the crisis sequence at the end of Star Fox 64 was yet another play on the series’ nods to Star Wars, with this one in particular being the power of the Force. Of course, this doesn’t answer how the two of them conversed; but it does at the very least give us some insight as to why it occurred from a development standpoint. Obviously, the anatomy of the Force is an axiom I do not relish getting into at the present.
Question #4: Why is there a truck in front of the S.S. Anne on the original Pokémon games?
Picture this: a small landmass surrounded by a body of water. That should be simple enough to imagine. Now place a truck on that landmass– and what do you have? A layout that makes the most bizarre episode of Gilligan’s Island seem logical (even the one where they find radioactive produce that gives them super powers). No explanation has ever been given as to why this lone truck was placed on the outskirts of the Vermillion City Docks, and I highly doubt there ever will be. The only purpose it has ever served is as a breeding ground for ridiculous rumors, from finding its key in the casino to pushing it with Strength – all backed by the promise of running into Mew, of course.
|Layton: My word, this puzzle is worth over 90 Picarats! But that is not to say that it is altogether unanswerable. If we extrapolate all of the possibilities, I am sure that we will not be left found wanting so long as we do not lose hope. And after my own critical evaluation, I surmise that the truck is the Anne’s maintenance crew, with the reason it is empty being that all the workers are on holiday. This notion is, as any good Brit would say, as sound as a pound.|
Question #5: What does a raccoon-themed power up have to do with aerodynamics?
In yet another effort to warp the minds of children, Nintendo championed Mario’s flying abilities on Super Mario Bros. 3 through a raccoon costume. Of course, in real life, raccoons can’t really fly– they can only glide for brief periods; but that didn’t stop Nintendo from wreaking the damage of presenting the facts otherwise to innocent adolescents. Realizing just how wrong this gross misconstruction was, the developers decided to change the Super Leaf upgrade to a much more realistic cape-based accessory in the follow-up entry– because we’ve all seen fat men flying with capes before. Still, despite the controversy, Nintendo is bringing the Tanooki costume back for Super Mario 3D Land.
|Layton: With all due respect, Smith, it would seem that you are intentionally presenting Nintendo as a band of manipulators who desperately vie for the destitution of children; and I cannot say that I am very fond of this type of one-sided propaganda or behaviour.
To answer your question, allow me to paraphrase Yoshiaki Koizumi and Takashi Tezuka, two well-known veterans at Nintendo: “The idea for the suit came originally from wanting to put a tail on Mario and let him use it as a spin attack. But eventually we saw the resemblance there to a propeller and decided to just let him fly with it.”
And please, Smith, whether you are happy with that response or not, from now on at least try to be fair and balanced in your coverage, alright?
Question #6: Where does Zero Suit Samus keep her emergency pistol?
I would normally pass this sort of question off as psychoanalytical. But as one of Nintendo’s more serious franchises (and by that, I mean one that doesn’t include anthropomorphic animals or an infinite surplus of elevatory pipelines), I can’t. And therefore, the issue remains. When Samus’ armor undergoes severe overexertion, she must deactivate it and resort to her bare essentials in order to conserve the last of her remaining energy. This downgrade leaves her in a skintight full-body jumpsuit– that’s it. So where does she get that pistol from? She couldn’t have been holding it in her hands beneath her armor, and there is clearly no place for her to store it. Metroid: Other M did attempt to remedy this problem by giving her a holster on her right thigh, but it was so poorly executed that the contraption would vanish between scenes. And so, the puzzle still stands: Where has she been keeping it?
|Layton: We must not forget to unwind the possibilities of the futuristic technology of the Chozo. There could very well be an application embedded within Lady Samus’ underthings that allows for a single item to spawn into her hand in the case of an emergency. Regardless, it is important to be a gentleman and not dwell too long on such matters.|
Question #7: Why weren’t the Jump Stars games released in the West?
I just don’t see how it was logical for Nintendo to not even try to release these fanboy dream games to the broader market, especially considering it paid for the whole shebang in the first place. At least half of the cast is fairly well known outside of Japan, and the fanboys would have eaten both entries up whether the lesser-knowns had been left in or axed. The casts of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Rurouni Kenshin, Yu Yu Hakusho, Bleach and One Piece alone, duking it out in a four-player, star-studded slamfest, should have been enough to warrant a stateside release.
|Layton: You are ignoring the contest of copyright, which in North America is feverishly enforced. It would have taken no less than a miracle for all the differing companies that own pieces and fragments of those individual series in the United States and Great Britain to come together and agree to share the profits. This would naturally bar the games any access to the western world.
If you still feel you must play these titles (which are by now severely outdated content-wise), then I suggest you import them. There is simply no other legitimate way.
Thank you for bearing with Layton and me as we chatted over tea and crumpets (Luke acted as both our secretary and servant, mind you). But the good professor would not allow me to leave this topic without first asking our readers to weigh in on the discussion with their own thoughts. So, do you think you could come up with better answers for these tough questions? Or are there any other calls for confusion in gaming you feel I overlooked? (Note: The Final Fantasy series doesn’t count.) Let us know in the comments below!