SlimKirby Reviews: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Hello everybody, SlimKirby here!

As you know, recently I played through Crash Bandicoot (1) for the very first time and had a very enjoyable experience. Because of that experience, I was also looking forward to playing through the rest of the original trilogy, which I had also picked up in addition to the first game, and since I made a review for the first game, I decided to also do reviews for the following two games as well. So here is my review of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes back!

Crash 2 Box

Crash Bandicoot 2, of all the Crash games I got to play when going over to my neighbor’s house (because I didn’t own any of them then) was the Crash game I was most familiar with. At the time, it just seemed like it was the more interesting title, as it was easier to play due to better gameplay mechanics and it just presented itself in a much better way. So whenever I went over to my neighbor’s house, it was a game I looked forward to playing, and if anything, it was kind of a shame that I never got to finish it because I don’t think my neighbor had a memory card, so I only got to see the first 5-10 levels on most of my sessions. It was still a very fun game though and I had good memories of it whenever I got to play.

After completing Crash 1 about a week and a half ago, I was really curious to see how the 2nd game would improve on the first one, and let me tell you, I was surprised to see how much it did. A lot of my concerns and problems with Crash 1 were addressed or remedied in the second game, and I think that’s pretty cool considering that the second game didn’t come out that long after Crash 1, and it wasn’t as easy to investigate consumer feedback as it is these days. Like the first game, you have two basic ways you can complete Crash 2. You can just play through the game and each level normally by grabbing the newly introduced pink crystal and beating each level and the boss of every area until you get to the end. Or, you could go the 100% route and collect all the gems, where much like Crash Bandicoot 1, you’ll have to go through every level in Crash 2 and break all the boxes in the area. Once again, I feel like the in-game reward for 100% isn’t as great as it could be, but after thinking about it, I think the reward in fully completing a Crash Bandicoot game is moreso how the gamer feels at the end of the accomplishment and not so much what the game presents to you.

Getting 100% this time around isn’t as stressful as it was in the predecessor. In the first game, you had to do the entirety of every level in one go, making sure you didn’t die and if you did die, restarting the level from the very beginning instead of starting at the checkpoints you get along the way. In this game, it’s a lot more lenient than that. For one, getting checkpoints will save your progress and you won’t have to start from the beginning anymore…in a majority of the cases. There are some cases where you will have to start over, but only in levels that have specific “no-death” routes, where a pad that leads to a new area will only appear if you make it to that point without dying. However, the game is still very lenient in that department as well, since once you make it to that point and ride the pad once, it will save that platform and allow you to die after the fact. In other words, the game isn’t strict about perfecting a level and any further perfection will be based on your own self-imposed challenges, which is the way I think it should be. Also, in general, the game just feels a lot more fair and should have less instances of sections that will just suck the extra lives away. There are still challenging parts of the game and I’m definitely not saying that the entire game is “Easy Mode” or anything, but it’s a fair challenge and has a very standard progression of difficulty when moving from the beginning to the end.

There are some things that Crash 2 does that are still kind of strange though. Like in Crash 1, there are colored gems that are offered throughout the game and in order to get some of the box gems, you will need specific color gems to reach alternate paths and areas in specific levels. Some of these gems can be found in alternate stage routes and death routes, but in some cases, the objective for the gem may not be entirely clear. This is especially true for the first level of the game; Turtle Woods, where in order to get the Blue Gem, you need to go through the entire stage without breaking a single box. I knew about this quirk from watching playthroughs of the game from other Youtube channels, but for a new player, this requirement may not be entirely clear and could send the player on a wild goose chase for something they are unaware of. There are also some stages that cannot be completed on the first go-around, but not because of a colored gem path, but because you need to warp to a hidden part of that stage from a later area’s level. Some of the warp points are obvious if you experiment in certain levels and pay attention to your surroundings, but considering this is the first Crash game that does this kind of thing, it’s kind of hard to know for sure what exactly you are looking for and when you are looking for it, so that could have been a little more clear. I think the N. Sane Trilogy remedies this problem by giving hints in the loading screen of the level, but that’s not so much the case for the original version.

It took me a lot less time and way fewer sessions to complete Crash 2 compared to Crash 1. While the first game took me an entire week (and then some), the Crash 2 experience only felt like a weekend, and even then, on my first night of playing, I came to the realization that one part of my 2-sided memory card was completely full and the game wouldn’t allow me to save until I turned off the game and deleted some save data. As a result, everything I did on the first night was completely erased and I had to start from square one the next time I played. I made a lot faster progress the next time, but it was still essentially a complete redo of what I had already done. By the end of the second night, I was more than halfway done with the game and made a big push on the following day to finish up the game completely; so really only 2-3 days to beat the game, which I think is pretty good considering it was my first full playthrough and with more than half of the experience being blind.

My only trouble spots in the playthrough came from very unexpected places…and I say that based on the horror stories of certain levels I’ve heard from other people who have played this game. For some reason, I couldn’t quite get the timing of the polar-bear riding levels down; which are automatic-moving levels that are based on timed jumps and movements while avoiding enemies and other annoying obstacles. For some reason I had a really hard time controlling the bear and lost a lot of lives in the process, especially on the secret level, “Totally Bear.” And on the level “Unbearable,” a level where you get chased by a giant polar bear while running towards the screen, I ran into an issue of missing 3 boxes by the very end of the level, which confused me because I was very thorough with investigating every nook and cranny of the stage, including the discovery of two hidden boxes that were off camera in a specific part of the level, yet even with those two “trollish” inclusions, I still managed to miss three boxes elsewhere, which just doesn’t make sense to me. On my second run through, I did it no problem and without missing anything, so I had to have blanked out something somewhere.

My biggest surprise was the level called “Cold Hard Crash,” a level that is notorious by fans to be the hardest level in the game. It has ice physics, a death route, the most boxes in any stage of the game, and an annoying gimmick that can mess you up if you don’t know the entire level well enough. Basically, in the death route, you have to make it to a certain point and then backtrack through the death route after activating a switch. Once you destroy the boxes that get activated by that switch, instead of exiting the level through the natural route, you have to keep backtracking to exit from the entrance pad and continue the level normally because the death route’s exit takes you to a much further part of the stage where you can’t backtrack to get back to the normal route, which sure enough has boxes on it. It’s quite the troll when it comes to playing the game for the first time and admittedly, it did trip me up as well. And to top it all off, in the bonus stage for the level, there is a box out of sight that you need to hit and there is just no indication that it is there. You just need to assume that something is up there and experiment until you make the discovery, which I am very sure was annoying for all of those individuals who did everything in the level perfectly and then reached the very end of the level just to see the box counter at 154/155. Anyway, as I was trying to get at earlier, I had heard horror stories about this level, but surprisingly, I did it relatively quickly and with not much issue. It definitely helped that I figured out the death-route gimmick very quickly and that I was aware of the troll bonus box, but still, I expected my life counter to melt away as quickly as an ice cube in the desert. “Piston’ It Away” was another level that I was expecting to be challenging, just based on stories I  had heard, but I also got through that one pretty quickly as well. I guess everyone just has different experiences in terms of what they struggle and don’t struggle with, huh?

So when I finished Crash 2, I was ultimately surprised at how quickly it had come and gone. On some level, it was a shame that it was already over, but after thinking about it, the game itself is probably considered to be pretty “retro” now, and over time, especially due to continuous play by gamers, older games will generally seem to be a lot shorter and faster to get through then more modern games that have better technology to work with and more content to sift through. Besides, sometimes it’s good to have a shorter game, one that you can breeze through after a few nights and then you can start fresh on the next one the following day, so it’s length is definitely not a negative. The experience did get me interested in starting the third game, so much that I actually tried to start Crash 3 on the following day. However, once again, I had memory card issues, and also figured that it was probably better to focus on getting this review done first before I started the next Crash game anyway. Since then, I have fixed the problem and have gotten a new memory card, so I’ll probably get to working on Crash 3 immediately, but as I said, I want to get this review done first, so this will be further elaborated on in the next review.

Overall, I consider Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back to be a much better product than first Crash Bandicoot game. It presents itself very well, makes it playable and approachable for all gamers of every skill level, and improved on many things that were either lacking or problems I had with its predecessor. That final detail alone shows that the game had good production and development values and is something I can appreciate from the perspective of a gamer and a consumer in general. Looking forward, Crash 3 has some pretty big shoes to fill, but from what I’ve heard from Crash fans, I have a pretty exciting experience to look forward to, so we’ll have to see how that goes when I finish the game and post the next review.

Thanks for reading everybody, I will see you guys next time for whatever game I decide to finish and talk about next!

~SlimKirby

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SlimKirby Reviews: Crash Bandicoot

Hello everybody, SlimKirby here!

I am here today to present to you guys, for a change, a website article! It’s been awhile (not counting the Simpsons Retrospectives) since I’ve actually done some writing like this and this is something I would like to start getting into the habit of doing as I continue to complete games on my very huge backlog. Essentially, I’m going to be talking about a game I’ve recently beaten/completed, give my impressions of the different aspects of the game, talk about a few of my experiences, and just in general sum up how I felt about the overall experience.

Crash Box

Today; I’m going to talk about the Sony Playstation classic; Crash Bandicoot. This is a game I’ve been aware of since it initially came out for the Playstation all of those years ago. Although, I never personally owned a Playstation console, but rather it was my next-door neighbors that did. Because of this, I only got to play these games when I went over to their house, which honestly, wasn’t very often. It was during these visits that I got my first taste of Crash Bandicoot, and later, Crash Bandicoot 2. I remember the games being 3D platformers, but not in the same sense as Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie, two other games I was more familiar with (because I actually owned them). They were 3D in the sense that the models were in 3D, and in most of the stages you could move in any direction, but the levels themselves were more structured like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros. Instead of going left to right though, a majority of Crash’s levels involved you moving forwards and backwards. This is why this series was generally known as the “Sonic’s Ass,” game, because your eyes were generally more focused on the behind of the character you were controlling. I found the Crash games very interesting and entertaining, for what little time I got to play them, but unfortunately, it wouldn’t be until 2017 (this very year) until I got to own my very first Crash platformer.

I got a Playstation 2 for Christmas when it first came out, and although Crash Bandicoot was on my radar, I was definitely interested in other games first. Final Fantasy VII was the first game I really “HAD” to own, and it was around this time that I got obsessed with Dynasty Warriors as well, so once I got too far down those rabbit holes, I kind of started forgetting about Crash. I did manage to pick up the game “Crash Bash” for Playstation 1, as it seemed like a party game, a type of genre I was also getting very into at the time, but this game was often considered an irrelevant spin-off to the majesty that was the Crash Bandicoot platformers and the other, better-received spin-off; Crash Team Racing. In the past year however, I managed to go on a bit of a Crash Bandicoot buying spree, picking up Crash Team Racing at Magfest 2016, Crash 2 and 3 at Magfest 2017, and then I found Crash 1 on Amazon for very cheap,which encouraged me to pick up that game as well, fully completing my collection of the original trilogy and generation of Crash Bandicoot.

I was heavily inspired to get these games for a couple of reasons; for one, after I discovered how awesome Ratchet and Clank was, it got me interested in a majority of the Sony platformer games, and naturally Crash Bandicoot was on that list as well. Second, after watching playthroughs of the Let’s Play channel, Super Gaming Bros., it got me intrigued to try the games for myself. And third, like I said before, even though it was brief, I did have a little bit of a history with these games and I think it’s important to own the games that you had some sort of connection with. I’m sure a lot of you guys are probably asking me why I bought all of the old games as opposed to buying the newly-released “Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy,” which is basically a remade version of all three games for the price of one retail game. Well, I didn’t buy that for the sole reason that I do not own a Playstation 4 to play that game, so this was the only way I could experience them. I also do not have a PS3, so I could not buy the digital versions on Playstation Network either. Because of this, I was definitely playing the harder, more archaic version of Crash Bandicoot 1, but, I was still able to make it through the game, and I feel pretty good about it, so it doesn’t really make me feel bad or make the accomplishment feel any less meaningful. So now that I’ve gotten through all the set-up; let’s actually start talking about the game in question. I’m only going to be looking at Crash Bandicoot 1 here, but over time, I will probably play through the other two games as well and will more than likely be giving my impressions on them too, but let’s do only one game at a time here.

Crash 1 is often noted for being a pretty standard game to beat, but an absolute nightmare to 100%. And let me tell you, after playing through this game 100%, I can definitely understand why. The game itself is not very long. Most of the stages can be completed in approximately 5-10 minutes on an initial playthrough (and that’s best case scenario), and if you just try to speed through the levels without doing the whole “collect-a-thon” thing, assuming you don’t run into many roadblocks, I’d say you could compare a standard level of Crash to be about the length of a Super Mario World level. And with only 26 stages in the game, you could probably beat the entire game in a sitting or two. However, like I said, that’s assuming you don’t try to 100% the game. In every stage, there are a number of boxes. These boxes can contain wumpa fruit that you can collect to earn more extra lives, defense masks to give you more protection against enemies or obstacles, or tokens that can earn you access to a secret bonus level. If you want to get 100% in Crash Bandicoot 1, you have to break every single box in every single level. Now, that might not sound too hard at first, but Crash 1 had a very annoying tendency where once you reached a checkpoint in the stage, if you died at any point after that, any boxes you got to that point would be forfeit, meaning you would have to exit the level and start from the very beginning of the stage all over again. So you had to completely clear the level on that run without dying, and let me tell you, for some of the levels that exist in this game…that is easier said than done.

And to make some matters a little more annoying, some stages you couldn’t completely clear until you 100% completed another stage, and there is not really any indication of when that is, unless you make it to a certain part of that stage and see an illusionary gem platform. Meaning, if you had tried doing that stage 100% to that point, you’d realize that you had wasted your time trying to get through the stage without dying when you couldn’t even get the specific gem for that level yet. I’d say this is a very minor complaint though, as I personally just used a gamefaqs guide that told me when I could and could not have completed a level, so when I got to a level I didn’t have to worry about yet, I just breezed through it on my own pace and came back when I could actually do something. Honestly, I’d recommend for anyone starting out on this game, just try to get through the game first and not worry about the 100% conditions until later. Yeah, you may have to play through a lot of levels again, but it’s better to know what to expect in a stage before trying to deal with everything on a blind run through.

My first session of the game was pretty successful. I was able to get a couple of the clear gems without too much trouble and spent most of my time just trying to get used to the controls and the general platforming of Crash Bandicoot. Let me tell you, if you have played any other platforming game, or heck, any other Crash game for that matter, it will take some adjusting to this particular game’s mechanics. One of the most important things you should get a feel for is how Crash jumps, because precision and timing is a big part of this game’s difficulty. Learn the distance of Crash’s jumps, and then learn how to make shorter jumps and to take notice of Crash’s shadow when he is about to land. Once you get a feel for that, I feel like a lot of the game will go a lot smoother. In my following few sessions, I didn’t really make a lot of progress. I got into the habit of pretty much being able to get only 2 or 3 clear gems per sitting, but honestly, patience is another big part of this game as well, and as long as I was making progress, I feel like that is all that mattered in the long run. It wasn’t until session number five or six where I really started to go beast mode on the game. I had gotten the gem for two of the longest and most difficult levels (Slippery Climb and Sunset Vista) and that put me in a mindset of feeling like I had complete control over Crash when moving and jumping, and used those skills to give me enough confidence in what stages I had remaining. In fact, I was capable of 100%ing The Lab and Lights Out on my first attempts (after just normally beating them previously), and those stages are considered to be pretty annoying, just due to their normal gimmicks. I went from having a little over half of the gems (26 overall) to having all of them in that final session.

I did have some trouble with the final two stages I had to get the gems for though (Boulder Dash and Fumbling in the Dark). These two stages really tested my patience and pretty much feature my two biggest problems of the game itself. For one, even though it can be overcome by practicing and adjusting, the directional controls of Crash 1 are just very inferior to other platforming games of the time. They aren’t a big deal in most levels, where you are either in a 2D plane or 3D sections where you don’t have to move diagonally much, but in the level Boulder Dash, for example, you have to outrun a giant boulder that’s following you, forcing you to make split-second button inputs to avoid obstacles that immediately come on screen that you have no way of knowing exist unless you play the stage numerous times beforehand. In some cases, you need to move diagonally, to make the most of your movements so that the boulder doesn’t have time to catch up with you, but you have to be pretty close to perfect, which is really hard to do with a d-pad. If you aren’t perfect, the boulder is going to catch up with you at the very end and turn you into a Crash pancake. Even if it seems like you’ll be fine after a small flub-up, the farther you make it into the stage, you’ll realize that it wasn’t enough and are then forced to start the entire stage over again because “No dying allowed in Crash 1!” I had so much trouble with this level because of this quirk, and spent an hour just trying to get the gem, when in reality, it’s a very short one-minute level that shouldn’t have taken me that long. Fumbling in the Dark however, is just a very hard level that can screw you over just on the notion of getting a bad enemy or obstacle pattern. The level itself is shrouded in darkness and you have to use masks to light the way as you make it through the level. However, if you take too long and don’t make it to the next mask, your current mask will dim out and you won’t be unable to see the path in front of you, which will have enemies, obstacles, and the most threatening, bottomless pits that you can’t see at all. It’s just a very unforgiving level when it comes to the clear gem and creates artificial difficulty on a level that was already difficult to begin with.

Later Crash games remove the “no dying” gimmick, or at the very least, don’t make it as much of a hindrance. In those games, whenever you reach a checkpoint, all of your box-breaking progress gets saved, meaning you don’t have to restart if you die. There are some instances where you do, if the level contains a “no-death route” for example, but it’s not in every level, and just in general, I think it’s a much better way to handle this system. Unfortunately, because they didn’t do that for the first game, I do think the game suffers from that design quirk and can be a very unfriendly aspect of this game for anyone looking to 100% complete it. The biggest draw of the N. Sane Trilogy’s version of Crash 1 is that this is fixed to a very large degree, meaning you don’t have to worry about this annoyance anymore if you are playing that version (and if you do, it’s only for the six colored gems). However, people who don’t own PS4s, like me, will unfortunately have to play the original and go above and beyond if we want to 100% complete this game.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about a 100% playthrough though is the fact that the difference in ending that you get is…kind of disappointing. If anything, the non-100% ending is better and is actually the canonical ending when moving on to the next Crash game. In other words, for the type of challenge that this offers the player, it can lead to the gamer feeling somewhat unrewarded with their efforts. With that being said though, there was definitely a huge feeling of satisfaction when I did complete the game and got the final gem. And knowing that I did it on the inferior and more difficult version of the game, made the victory even sweeter, so this decision didn’t bother me as much as it probably should have. I can understand other people feeling kind of annoyed with this fact though.

In conclusion, I think the game itself is good and it was a lot of fun for me to finally play through it 100%. Would I do it again? For the eventual Let’s Play, yes, but until I have a way to play the N. Sane Trilogy, I don’t see myself going back to this game for a casual playthrough anytime soon. The design quirks are a bit too iffy for my tastes and when you consider that the following installments fixed all of this game’s problems, they’re probably the more accessible and superior games of the franchise, and I look forward to making my way through them very soon!

Thanks for reading everybody, I will see you guys next time for whatever game I decide to finish and talk about next!

~SlimKirby

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SlimKirby Central - July 2017

Hello everybody, SlimKirby here, and welcome to the newest update of SlimKirby Central.

I am fully aware that I did not make an update in June, and by extension, the video update I promised for July is…not exactly a video update, as you can see. I’m not going to make any excuses, I’ve been slacking pretty hardcore on a lot of different things, but I think I have a pretty good reason why…a two hour good reason that has thankfully been uploaded to my channel by this point. Safe to say, the clip show for my 10th Year Anniversary completely wore me out. I pretty much spent the entire month of June rewatching through old projects that still needed to be watched through, editing footage, re-editing footage, rendering video compilations, and watching and rewatching the final product many, many times. It was a huge commitment that I am very thankful is over now, and piece by piece, I’ve been trying to get back on track with everything that relates to my Youtube channel and my streams. There are some other things too, but I’m definitely focusing on those things first. Hell, I’m still not completely done with my Anniversary yet either, but I’ll get into that very shortly.

So once again, like May’s update, I’m going to go lightning-quick through all the things I’ve been working on and things you can expect during the next month and beyond. Although I don’t foresee any big changes soon, from what you guys are already aware of anyway, just consider this a very short and concise direction of where everything is currently going at the moment.

We’ll start with Anniversary stuff as that is currently my main focus at the moment. The first three events have already come and gone. The clip show has been posted on my channel, Undertale has started, and just yesterday, I hosted my Anniversary Name That Tune competition (which will be posted on Youtube in the next week). This only leaves the 24-hour stream event, which is still planned to happen and will probably happen during the last weekend of July or first weekend of August. Until I figure out all of the specific details though, I’m afraid I still can’t give a date or time yet, but I will have one picked out by next week, for sure. Much like the Name That Tune, regardless of when the event will happen, I will be posting the VODs to Youtube, so even if you miss something or everything, you can still view everything.

On Youtube, I’m currently working on three projects; Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Mario Kart Wii, and my anniversary project; Undertale. Dual Strike, naturally, still has a ways to go, being the type of game that it is, but I think from where I am currently, I’m making some pretty good progress. In fact, in August, I may start devoting more upload days for that project just to move it along more quickly, and since Mario Kart Wii shouldn’t be too long either, that may open up a few extra days as well, and a potential weekend slot for the bonus content when I get around to it. I would theoretically like to be done with the main parts of those projects before September, but there are still a lot of uncertainties in the air and I really don’t feel like making any promises or bold claims to get your hopes up.

Undertale is probably the biggest uncertainty, just in terms of how that game/project is structured. I would like to show the three basic paths, and with the way the game is, after the first path I’ll have a pretty good opportunity to abridge the journey of my following two recordings, while also showing off any of the little things I missed or didn’t catch in the initial run. Because of this, I don’t think the project itself will be too long, but I also just don’t know how long it will end up being either. I also thought about spreading out the different paths throughout the rest of the year too, but I don’t want to prolong the videos too long either to the point where I spend half the year with the project uncompleted, like I’ve been doing with Pokemon Stadium for like…3 ½ years now. Once I finish going through those recordings again, I’ll have a better idea of how long the project will be, but for now, let’s just enjoy the ride, because I think the videos have been great so far.

As far as the future is concerned, I’m pretty much planning to start Super Mario Galaxy 2 as soon as I finish one of my weekday projects, whether it’s Undertale or Advance Wars: Dual Strike. I wanted to start Galaxy 2 sooner, but I kind of underestimated the length of some of the projects I would be working on. However, those are just the breaks when it comes to this line of work. Sometimes, you just don’t know how things are going to work out schedule-wise, even if your initial draft seems plausible. There were various projects, long ones and short ones, that I wanted to get to, but there is a pretty good possibility that I may need to push back a few for 2018. On the bright side though, this will continue to give me more projects and gameplays for the future, so it will still be a long time before I officially run out of games play. But anyway, just stay tuned and in my next SlimKirby Central update, I should have a better idea of what to expect as we start getting into the middle of 2017’s second half.

Now we are moving on to Twitch, and my god….I have taken quite the journey…a journey of “randomness” you could say. I’ve definitely talked about this a lot in the past, and if you are a follower of my Twitch account, you should be very familiar with my most recent obsession. Basically, I’ve gotten into speedrunning The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past item randomizer. That’s right…I am speedrunning now, and on some days, even I can’t believe it. I think I talked about this briefly in my last entry back in May, but these days, I think it’s safe to say that my obsession has grown quite a bit. My PB time has gone from a 2:00:51 to a 1:41:37 (almost a 20 minute improvement), and I am in the process of training for the upcoming tournament that should be happening this fall. I’ve also been entering SRL races to test my skills against other players, and while I haven’t made any significant progress (although 38th out of 92 in a big weekly race isn’t too shabby), it’s been a lot of fun and I am very much looking forward to participating in a big SpeedGaming tournament. I also plan to sign up for commentary too, so maybe you’ll get to hear my insight on some other matches as well (we’ll see).

I still try to stream some other stuff too though. Usually after my Monday seed/race of ALTTPR, I try to work on some RetroAchievements. RA has recently come out with N64 games on their website, so because I love that system in particular, I’ve been doing my best to make more progress on that front, even though my interest is still fading pretty fast. Then, during Saturday evening, I still have my traditional Saturday Night Grind stream events, where I do a playthrough of a game that takes a lot of grinding, usually an RPG or strategy game of some sort, and come back to it every Saturday night for a pretty lengthy stream session. I recently finished Fire Emblem Echoes (aside from postgame), and started up Paper Mario so I could tackle the RetroAchievements for that game and the eventual grinding that will need to be done for those to be completed. I also plan to start Hyrule Warriors Legends very soon in that same timeslot. So if you want to check out the action, come on by every Saturday at 8:00 PM Eastern. As far as other stream timeslots, I have no regular time, but you can expect my Monday streams to be in the afternoon, and any other streams I decide to do in my spare time, will usually be advertised on Twitter a few hours before they start. Just don’t be surprised if you see a lot of Link to the Past Randomizer. Like I said…it’s kind of been my thing lately and I need the practice for the tournament.

Also, I suppose I should mention this as well, since I don’t think it was a thing back in May during my last entry, but…I am a Twitch affiliate now. And due to the recent changes of giving Twitch affiliates a “Subscriber” button, you can now officially subscribe to my Twitch channel for $4.99 a month. I’m still in the process of figuring out what my subscriber perks will be, but for now, if you would like to support the type of work I do on Twitch AND Youtube, subscribing is a way you can do so. I also have an emote made already, so if you want to go to my Twitch channel and check it out, feel free to as there is a link at the bottom of this entry.

Finally, as far as the Simpsons retrospective is concerned, I am in the process of planning when I’m going to return to that, but it will for sure be after my final anniversary event. So expect me to start Season 2 somewhere around mid-August, at least as of right now. I even received a Blu-Ray player from my aunt (an old one she had), so I may end up watching my DVDs on that as opposed to watching them online on Simpsons World, which is what I did for Season 1. I really did enjoy going through Season 1 and I’m curious to see how the series will continue as I move on to Season 2.

I think that’s about it and all I have to report on. It may not seem like a lot, but as I said before, it’s hard to recover from an entire month’s work of focusing on one single project. The second half of 2017 has officially started and I’m very much looking forward to the remaining months of this year. With all the projects I have planned, and the huge step forward we’ve taken on Twitch, I foresee some big things happening in the future! I hope all of you Star Warriors are ready for the action!

-SlimKirby

Links:
Youtube
Twitch
Twitter
Simpson’s Retrospective

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Mario Kart Wii

Game: Mario Kart Wii
Start Date: July 15th, 2017
End Date: August 20th, 2017
Videos: 12

You can’t have a new Nintendo Console without a Mario Kart game, and when Nintendo was making the Wii version of the series, they definitely did not disappoint. Building on the fast-paced, but still arcade-styled racing gameplay, and the online functionality that was introduced in Mario Kart DS; Mario Kart Wii definitely brought the Mario Kart game to a whole new level.

Mario Kart Wii is probably my favorite Mario Kart game. I just have a lot of history with it (especially with the guys and gals of CrystalStarStudio and the Blargg Pit community), and just brought a lot to the table when it released, in the form of time trial leaderboards, solid & accessible online, and just the classic Mario Kart gameplay that always come with a solid Mario Kart title. So safe to say, I was looking forward to coming back to this game for the playthrough. Let’s get ready to race once again!

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Undertale

Game: Undertale
Start Date: July 10th, 2017
End Date: —
Videos: —

Every now and then, an indie-game comes out and it gets a pretty big following. However, the game known as Undertale didn’t just get a big following, but an incredibly HUGE following. Who would have thought the journey of a kid falling into a hole filled with monsters would turn into the phenomenon that it did? However, from it’s incredible soundtrack, colorful characters, and unique gameplay style, I don’t find it to be too much of a surprise.

So here is a fun-fact for you guys…even though this project did release on July 10th, 2017, this particular playthrough started back in April of 2016, when I played Undertale for the very first time. Yes, this is a blind playthrough that I recorded a very long time ago that I hadn’t released until now because, for one, I wasn’t quite ready for it, and two, it was a playthrough I really wanted to save for a very specific period of time. With my 10th Year Anniversary on the horizon, I decided that would have been a good of a time as any to finally release the project to the masses. I hope you guys enjoy!

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SlimKirby's 10-Year Anniversary "Name That Game Tune" - 7/18/17 @ 3:00 PM EDT

Introduction: Hey guys! I’m hosting a Video Game “Name That Tune” competition on Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 at 3:00 PM EDT at my SlimKirby stream channel! This competition is heavily based and inspired by Odinspack33’s competition that he hosts on his Twitch co-op channel, Ami_Bros. I’ve done a few events like this in the past, and based on their success, and the fact that I’ve recently celebrated an anniversary milestone, I figured it was time to host another one!

Concept: The concept is quite simple. I play a song, and you guys try to guess what game it is from. The fastest (and correct) users will get points for identifying the game, and at the end of the playlist, I will crown a winner of the event. Don’t expect any rewards though, as this is merely for fun. I just want to test you guys and see how well you know your video game music. If you enjoy this type of competition, you are heavily encouraged to check out the Ami_Bros Name That Tune event which happens every Thursday (usually) night on the Twitch channel I linked earlier. Plus, I may have more of my own events in the future as well.

Games: Any video game console, handheld and PC game is eligible to have songs in this contest, and some series will no-doubt be covered multiple times. However, because this is an anniversary event to celebrate 10-Years of uploading on Youtube…all songs in this event will be from Youtube projects I have done. Basically, If it’s on my channel, it is eligible to be used in this event. No single game will covered more than once though.

Songs: When I am getting ready to play a song, I will mute my microphone and let people know in chat when I’m about to start playing the song. I’ll let the song play for about 30 seconds (maybe longer to account for twitch delay), so during that time, please post in chat what you think the song is from. After I stop the song, I will mute the audio again, write down who got the question correct, and then move on to the next song. After every 5 songs, I will recap the answers and who got points from that last round. This will continue for 65 songs, so there will be 13 rounds.

Answers: There are a couple rules you need to keep in mind when answering.

a) Only the first 3 correct answers will be accepted and will get points. The first correct answer will get 2 points, while the following two will get 1 point. There will be a cut-off though for how long I accept additional correct answers, just to prevent copy/pasting and cheating. I am also introducing a twist to this event that may give some extra points to participants who barely miss the cut when it comes to answers, but that will be explained during the event.

b) You only get one answer, so only your first answer will be accepted if you answer multiple times. Even if you misspell the game or make a typo, don’t answer again.

c) If you don’t know the answer, GUESS! Sometimes you would be surprised how often your guess would be right, just by knowing certain styles and sound fonts of music, and correctly interpreting the theme of the round.

d) You are answering with the title of the game of where that music track FIRST appeared in. Songs that are featured in subsequent games (unless they are remixed) will not count. Super Smash Bros is a big example here. Make sure you know the difference between original songs and remixes. If it’s a Smash Bros. remix, answer with the Smash Bros game, but if it’s the original, unchanged song, answer with where it’s from.

e) A correct answer must have correct spelling. If you spell something wrong, or make an accidental typo, sorry, your answer will not count. However, you don’t need to have exact punctuation. So don’t worry about colons or hyphens if you don’t include them (or the double “!!” in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!). I’m also flexible when it comes to spacing as well.

f) Give full titles! Name abbreviations and acronyms are not correct answers. Example: Don’t shorten “Super Mario Bros. 3” to “SMB3” or “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” to “Zelda: OoT.” You need to spell out full game titles with the only exception being the following subtitle rule.

g) Subtitles are unnecessary unless they differentiate the game in question. Example: All “The Legend of Zelda” games NEED their subtitle because if you just say “The Legend of Zelda,” that could mean the original game or any of the other games that have subtitles. However, “Zelda II: The Adventure Link” doesn’t need the subtitle, because there is only one “Zelda II” so “Zelda II” would be an acceptable answer. As another example, for “Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest,” an answer of “Donkey Kong Country 2” is acceptable. You can still type out the full names, but you won’t get bonus points, and are potentially missing out on points by typing out more than necessary.

h) Roman numerals and numbers can be interchangeable, so “Final Fantasy 8” and “Final Fantasy VIII” are both acceptable answers. The only time this would matter otherwise is if the game needs the roman numerals to differentiate from another version. For example, “Mega Man 3” is an NES game while “Mega Man III” is a Game Boy game.

i) If a game is on multiple gaming machines and has a slighty different soundtrack or is a different game entirely, like the console and 3DS versions of Sonic Generations for example, you don’t need to differentiate between the two versions if they are named the same. Both games are called “Sonic Generations.”

j) Stick with North American names only. If you live in a different region and are used to calling a game by a certain name, I will make an exception in that case, but only if it would give you a point otherwise. The answer is whatever it is on the box or game disc.

Cheating: If you are caught cheating, you will be timed out. Any further cheating will result in a disqualification or a ban on my stream channel. No exceptions. This is for fun and there are no prizes involved, so don’t cheat. Unfortunately, since this contest will rely a lot on the honor system, cheating can’t be policed very easily, but in my experience, cheaters usually slip up eventually, so do yourself a favor and don’t bother with it.

Lag and Stream Buffering: If you are experiencing lag or stream buffer during the event, my only advice would be to refresh the stream or reset your router/connection. In between rounds, pause the stream and hit play again to get caught up for optimal performance. If you continue to have problems, there is not much I can do because unfortunately with streaming, there are a lot of factors that affect performance, like twitch servers, my internet, your internet, or sometimes just random luck. WHATEVER YOU DO THOUGH, DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT LAG OR TWITCH DELAY IN CHAT. We know it’s frustrating, but it can be ridiculously annoying watching someone complain about it over and over again. If you make a habit of complaining, you are risking a timeout or potential ban. Since I should have quality options by this point, and since the stream visuals won’t be that important, lower the video quality to it’s lowest setting to ensure that buffering won’t happen as much.

My Screen is Law: Sometimes, it may show you answering before someone else on your screen, but sometimes, due to people answering at the same time, on my screen it may show a different result. Whatever it shows on my screen is what is correct, even if it shows you first on your screen. That’s the only fair way to control thus

Common Courtesy and Respect: During the event, treat all individuals; streamer, moderators and fellow competitors with respect and kindness. Do not insult anyone and if you think someone is cheating, let the moderators take care of it and not yourself. If you have a problem with the contest and think something was done unjustly, address it in between rounds and we’ll discuss it before moving on to the next one.

I think that’s all I need to address. The only other thing I can think of is just to have fun and a good time listening to video game music with other like-minded gamers! See you guys then, it should be a lot of fun!
~SlimKirby

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Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge

Game: Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge
Start Date: June 20th, 2017
End Date: June 27th, 2017
Videos: 3

That Dr. Wily seems content on not keeping the peace, as he is up to his old tricks, but this time on the Game Boy! Capcom decided that with all the Mega Man love the NES was getting, that it made sense to put the series on the Nintendo handheld as well. And let me just tell you…these games are not just simple ports.

So I needed something short to kill some time before my anniversary. Banjo Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge ran a bit short, so I needed another game about revenge. Enter Mega Man! I had plans to start the Game Boy series at some point this year. This seemed like an appropriate time to, I guess.

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Advance Wars: Dual Strike

Game: Advance Wars: Dual Strike
Start Date: June 19th, 2017
End Date: —
Videos: —

Advance Wars was a big player on the GBA, especially in terms of turn-based strategy games, and even though franchises were starting to move to the Nintendo DS, that didn’t stop Intelligent Systems from using the well-established “Advance Wars” name. All our favorite COs have returned, with some new faces as well, for a new installment that throws a few new twists, and another screen, to the mix.

Advance Wars has always been a main staple of my channel, but truth be told, I was considering putting this off for a bit, even after getting the 3DS Capture Card. I just wasn’t sure if I was ready to get into ANOTHER Advance Wars game, just because of how time-consuming they can be. However, after thinking about it, and revisiting the game for a afternoon, I realized that I actually had missed the Advance Wars gameplay, and Dual Strike didn’t seem like it would be that big of an investment. Because of that, I decided to go for it!

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Question Corner #14?

Hey guys, welcome to another edition of the Question Corner.

We have a very brief update today, so I’m going to make this quick so you can get back to your daily business.

Q: “Where is the next update to the Question Corner?”

A: This is the only question I’m answering this time, and for that matter, this is probably the last question I’m going to answer in regards to the Question Corner for a long while. Truth be told, I have not been getting any new questions whatsoever for a very long time. In fact, in the past few Question Corner updates, I had make up some of my own questions just to fill up space and actually even get a new update out there. This website, and heck, even just the SlimKirby channel in general, just isn’t getting the amount of exposure that it used to. Which is a shame, because I was hoping for this series to be a regularly updated thing, but the fact that it only updates every few months (even after forcing it), it’s just kind of looking like a lost cause when I could be spending more time on things that are way more important (namely my videos and streams). So I’m probably going to retire the Question Corner. Not for good, but definitely until things pick up again and seems appropriate to bring it back.

I know this may seem like a cop out to some individuals, but as I’ve said a number of times…..I would only post a Question Corner if I got 20 questions, and aside from that incredibly long break I had in between March 2014 and November 2015, I held true to that and never broke my promise. If there ever was a delay, it was only for a week and because I was in the middle of working on other big things like my videos and other commitments. I was true to my word always, and if anything, went above and beyond by making my own questions to add to the list so you all could have an episode earlier than scheduled. And with over 13 episodes, and almost 300 questions answered, I think we got some pretty good ground covered regardless. So maybe it is time for a break.

Also, not going to lie, but the quality of the questions I was getting….did kind of dip after a little while. I’m not saying this to be mean or anything…I’m just stating the facts that after a time, once numerous questions have been asked and answered…there’s obviously going to be less questions that need to be asked because they’ve been answered already. And lately, most of the questions I’ve been getting have just been simple “Yes” or “No” questions, and not really questions I could get into more detail with, which I think just kind of ruins the point of this entire series. There has also been a number of topics that have just been milked to absolute death, almost to the point where it feels like I’m just being asked random, thoughtless things just get a new episode out. In other words, there’s way too much of a focus on quantity than quality, and that’s not what I wanted for this series. Not to mention that my usual warnings of “Don’t ask about this” or “Avoid asking these questions,” were ignored pretty much on every update, so it just felt extremely disappointing that on top of all of that, some individuals couldn’t even follow basic instructions that were right in front of them. It just gave me a bad feeling about this series in general.

There were also two other factors that didn’t exactly help either. For one, I’m not sure what it is with the plugin I was using, but for some reason, while most Question Corner emails appeared in my Inbox, there were quite a few of them that got sent to the Spam Folder as well, so there is a very distinct possibility that I may have missed some questions over time. If that is the case, I do apologize, from the bottom of my heart, but sometimes, that is just the nature of technology. Even if you have “Don’t appear in Spam” checked, there’s still the possibility of your mail servicing detecting it as spam and putting it in the trash regardless, even if you have the address saved as “safe address,” so I’m not really sure what was up with that. I still did everything I could to make sure nothing was in there whenever I made updates, but I’m not perfect and there could have been that possibility.

Two, I’m not sure what exactly this person’s problem is, but there was also a huge number of e-mails sent by just one individual. Literally every day or every other day, I would get 2-3 e-mails at around the same time, by the same person. And when I say the same person, I mean “the same person.” They were all sent by a different names, but I can say without a doubt in my heart that it was all one in the same. For one, the quality of the questions showed. Two, the format in which he/she left their e-mail address made it incredibly obvious, and three…I’m a very smart person and I can tell when and where I’m getting e-mails from, so trying to hide and mask yourself in that fashion was just never going to work anyway. And you know, over time, when only one person is submitting questions and then, on top of that, when that very same person starts submitting threats and insults like “you better get the next Question Corner up before I expose you to all of your fans as the non-caring piece of shit that you are,” it’s like……”come on dude, you are the only one who cares and you are making a fool out of yourself in the process.” And no, this is not a recent development either. This has been going on since the beginning of 2016, and as expected, the threats are as empty as their being. But the numbers speak for themselves…even after putting a limit on that individual’s questions (and anyone who tries to ask multiple questions for that matter), it’s still just not enough to post a new episode, which is why there is always such a huge time gap in between issues. I would have thought the person would have grasped that by this point, but I suppose that would be giving the obvious troll way too much credit.

So yeah, with all of those things put into consideration, putting this series on hiatus just makes the most sense. Besides, I’m still working hard on my 10th Year Anniversary special and at this point, I need to devote all of my time to that. If I don’t, it’s going to be hard to put my all into that with so many other things in mind. Not to mention, I’m still also trying to stay up to date on my Youtube and Twitch stuff as well, so there are just lots of things that need to be done in such a short period of time. And like I said, this isn’t the permanent end for the Question Corner…I’m just taking it down for a while. I’ll leave all the other entries up, but the contact form will no longer have a Question Corner section. In fact, I may consider a different means of question submission in the future, just so we don’t run into these problems again, but for now, it was a fine road while it lasted.

-SlimKirby

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Intro

Introduction:
I sense a great disturbance in the force. That’s right, we are finally going to take a look at “Some Enchanted Evening,” an episode I’ve been rather vocal about in terms of my lack of enjoyment of. There are great number of reasons for why this episode in particular gets such low marks from me, but I’m obviously not going to talk about those reasons right now. Heck, if anything, my opinion could change after this most recent watch…we’ll just have to wait and see! “Some Enchanted Evening” first aired on on May 13th, 1990 and has the ‘honor’ of being the first episode written for the show’s first season, but the last one of the season to actually air. The reason for such the huge delay in airing was due to the fact that, as we will see in our viewing of this episode, the animation looked absolutely atrocious, and many of the show’s producers were not happy with the final product. They basically held it back from airing first for that sole reason and decided to spend a little more time polishing up the animation for other episodes that would end up debuting before this one, a decision that was definitely a good call on their parts. I find it weird that this episode still managed to make it on TV though because of that presentation, but I guess the writers and producers were still confident in the episode’s plot at least, and figured that the presentation would only be a small hurdle to jump over. The chalkboard gag of the episode is “I Will Not Yell ‘Fire’ in a Crowded Classroom,” and the couch gag…there is no couch gag! The Simpsons come inside and sit on the couch and nothing happens. I guess this is further proof that this was supposed to be the first episode, because we saw actual gags before we even saw the original “no gag” animation.

Marge PhoneDr. Monroe (phone): “If he doesn’t start loving, you will be leaving!”
Marge: “Leave Homer?”
Dr. Monroe: “Don’t use his real name!”
Marge: “Leave Pedro?”

Plot:
The story starts with breakfast on another morning in the Simpson household. In perhaps one of the crudest animations in the entire series, we see the entire family, sans Marge, shoveling food into their mouths while Marge is standing around witnessing the act and looking rather troubled about something. From this we can gather that Marge isn’t incredibly happy at home. Her kids don’t seem incredibly appreciative and her husband is, quite frankly, a pig who doesn’t show her the love she should be receiving. After the kids ignore the lunches she made for them, Homer doesn’t give her a kiss good-bye, and Maggie falls asleep on her, we start to get the feeling that Marge is quite depressed at the moment.

After hearing about a radio talk show with Dr. Marvin Monroe, Marge calls in and starts talking about the problems she is having at home. This same radio show just so happens to be playing at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, where Homer works, and he manages to hear everything. During the call, Dr. Monroe tells Marge that she needs to tell Homer off and that she is not going to be treated this way anymore. Marge responds enthusiastically (with anger) and Homer is now incredibly worried about coming home that night. He decides to stop in at Moe’s Tavern on his way home, and while talking to Moe about his problem, he decides to give Homer some advice. He tells Homer to go home with flowers and then show Marge an evening she will never forget that’s all about her and how much he really loves her. Homer accepts the advice and finally decides to go home. Although Homer isn’t able to get many flowers with his budget, and even though Marge has been at home stewing in anger the entire day, Marge immediately is touched by Homer’s gesture and forgives him.

Homer makes plans for the two to go out to dinner and dancing for the night. However, this creates a problem with the children who will now be left at home unsupervised unless they get a babysitter. Although they have some trouble at first (since they have been blacklisted from the babysitting service, and need to call under a different alias), they eventually get a babysitter under the name Ms. Botz. Marge and Homer then proceed to go out for an amazing night of fun and romance.
Back at home, Bart turns on “America’s Most Armed and Dangerous,” and while watching, Bart and Lisa start hearing about a criminal known as “The Babysitter Bandit.” They proceed to get scared, thinking that their own babysitter might be the criminal, and right when they show a picture of the lady, known as Ms. Lucille Botzcowski, Ms. Botz comes out of the other room with ropes and restraints, ready to tie-up the children. Their babysitter is in fact, the Babysitter Bandit. Both kids are captured, even Lisa, who almost manages to call the hotline about the criminal, but is cut-off at the worst possible time. The only child who isn’t captured is Maggie, who is still in her room, but manages to sneak out and look for her brother and sister.

Maggie finds the two tied-up on the couch and helps them get free. From here, the children decide to set a trap for the bandit, where Maggie crawls into the other room to get her attention, and has her follow the child into a closet where Bart proceeds to knock her out with a baseball bat. They tie up the lady and leave her hog-tied on the middle of the living room floor, forcing her to watch “The Happy Little Elves,” while they leave the house to call at a pay phone down the street because the bandit disconnected the telephone lines. During this time, after their romantic evening has ended, Marge decides to call home to check on the children, but gets no answer. Fearing that something bad has happened, they drive home.

When they arrive home, they find the babysitter tied up and they freak out not knowing the reason for it. They send the lady home with an increased payment and her bags, which they are unaware has all of the stuff she stole from them, and right as the babysitter bandit leaves, the children return home with the police and “America’s Most Armed and Dangerous.” Homer gets angry at Bart for what he has done, but while he is disciplining the boy, the police reveal that Homer had just paid off and set free a criminal. In a moment of awkwardness, Homer tries to spin the story that she had escaped and that he had struggled with keeping her captive, but the damage is already done and Homer looks like the biggest fool in town. However, during the last moments of the episode, Marge comforts him and lets him know that if he was capable of raising children that could capture a criminal, he must be doing something right, and reminding him that the entire night wasn’t a total waste.

LobsterWaiter: “Why don’t you pick one that’s a little more frisky, sir?
Homer: “Why?”
Waiter: “Well, when you choose one that’s floating upside-down, that kind of defeats the purpose of selecting a live lobster.”
Homer: “Oh, okay. Then I’ll take that one there with the beady eyes.”

My Personal History:
Of all the episodes in Season 1, this is probably the episode I’ve seen the least amount of times. Not because it’s the last episode or anything (usually, when I watch a DVD, I watch the entire disc before putting it down), but because in the Season 1 DVD boxset, this was the only episode on Disc 3, so it never really that important to put an entire disc in to just watch one episode, especially if it was an episode I was never really that crazy about. But yeah, as you probably expected, I didn’t get to see this one until I got Season 1 on DVD, so I don’t have much to say here beyond that. I can’t wait until we get to Season 2 so I actually have a little more to say in these sections.

BartSmartBart: “We know who you are, Ms. Botz, or should I say, Ms. Botzcowski! You’re the babysitter bandit!”
Ms. Botz: “You’re a smart, young man Bart. I hope you’re smart enough to keep your mouth shut.”
Lisa: “He isn’t!”

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
Despite this episode being a little hard to watch at times, I will say that there are actually quite a few nice moments in this episode. For one, I like the dynamic of the Simpson children just being a whole lot smarter and better at everything than their parents (especially Homer) are capable of being. The way they captured the Babysitter Bandit was absolutely incredible and the fact that they could improvise in such a quick manner just makes me wish we could have seen more of that in this episode. Home Alone is probably one of my all-time favorite movies, and I think it would have been fun to see an entire section of that in this episode; just watching the three kids completely outsmart and outmaneuver the criminal. And then, just having your entire plan get ruined by Homer’s actions…it makes for a very disappointed ending, but also a very funny ending as well. This is how the Simpson family is supposed to work; they have moments of brilliance and excellence, but then something comes along and screws everything up, resetting the status quo, and in some cases like this, giving the family less of what they started with.

I think Marge and Homer have some nice moments as well, but definitely not along the same lines as the Simpson children. I like how Homer can be romantic and thoughtful when he really puts his heart into it, and it’s just nice seeing the husband and wife going out and having a good and fun time together. This is the 3rd episode in the last five episodes where Marge and Homer have some kind of spat or marital problem, and even though they managed to pull themselves out of the mud in every instance, it’s not really a thing I want to see too many times in the series. They’ve already been through some pretty rough situations and tough times in just the first season, and if they overdo it, it will probably make viewers wonder why they are even together if they keep having these problems. So it’s nice to see them in a more relaxed and fun environment where they can be themselves and just have a good time together, which in terms shows how compatible they actually are.

As far as best individual moment, the one moment I always remember from this episode is when Bart and Lisa are calling the hotline to inform the police that they captured the Babysitter Bandit. Bart asks Lisa to ask them what their reward will be for catching her, and after she asks, she responds with, “If she’s convicted, we’ll get t-shirts!” and Bart exclaims, in a very positive manner “All right!” I love it just because they are kids who are getting excited over t-shirts of all things, which I think is pefect. It’s perfect because it makes a good joke, and it really just shows the simple-minded nature of children. They don’t need a huge cash reward; sometimes just the experience and a reminder of that experience is all they will ever need.

Also, this is going to be a very short paragraph, but there is one more thing I want to point out before we move on. Isn’t this the THIRD episode in a row where Bart has outsmarted a criminal? Unfortunately the one in this episode escaped, but he captured the French winemakers in Episode #11, Sideshow Bob in Episode #12, and now the Babysitter Bandit in Episode #13. Seriously, at this rate, maybe Bart Simpson should be a police officer, because he is on a roll at the moment.

TV“Have you ever seen a kung-fu movie? It was just like that! But now I know her moves. So, if you are listening to me, lady, you’d better think long and hard about trying this on Homer Simpson again!”
– Homer Simpson

My Review:
This is an episode I haven’t really been looking forward to for a while now. Going into this project, I was confident that this was going to be my first “negative” review. Even though I have been negative on some aspects of different episodes from the first season, most of my reviews have been relatively positive. However, I knew this episode in particular would be the hardest shell to crack in terms of changing my opinion around, just because it’s always been a chore for me to go back and watch this one, for a multitude of reasons. However, on this particular re-watch, there was really only one thing that bothered me.

As I’ve said before, the visual presentation for this episode is just not very good. I think the first scene in the episode pretty much speaks volumes for the entire presentation as a whole. You get an extremely awkward animatic for the Simpson family eating breakfast with Homer eating with his mouth open and the entire family just eating like pigs in general. Then you just start feeling incredibly bad for Marge because of what her family is doing to her. Then you get the extremely cliché wife calling to complain about her husband routine, with the husband finding out and then figuring out a way to win her back…the entire first act in general is just really, really hard to get through and is probably the weakest part of the episode, in my opinion. It definitely improves from that point forward, but I still think you should have a good story throughout the entire twenty-one minutes, and not just fourteen of them.

From the second act, onward (pretty much when the babysitter comes into the picture), the episode is actually pretty strong. You really start to see the Simpson children in their element when it comes to dealing with a bad guy (or bad girl, in this case) and the entire game of cat-and-mouse between the children and the Babysitter Bandit is just exciting and entertaining to watch. It’s like I said earlier in the review, this really should have been the basis for the entire episode, and not just the second-half. They could have started from Marge and Homer getting ready to go out for the night and skipped all the awkward “Marge not happy at home” business, and then we could have gotten another act of the kids and the bandit at war, which is what I wanted to see more of. The Homer and Marge stuff was nice and sweet when we got to the second and third acts, but it just wasn’t as strong as the other storyline going on, and as I said, I just really didn’t like the first seven minutes of this episode.

I think it’s actually kind of interesting when you consider the fact that this was initially planned as the first episode of the series. And you know, honestly, I kind of wish it would have been. “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” was a nice premiere, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like first episodes in general always kind of have that “first episode” stigma attached to them. It’s the stigma where, while you are watching, you know and feel like it’s a first episode. Whether it has to do with, in this case, the art direction and presentation, or how a character portrays their lines and attitudes. It’s stuff where you can watch the episode and think “Wow, that character has changed a lot since then,” but not be turned off or lose interest completely. That’s the vibe I get from this episode, but it’s funny considering the season already has a couple of episodes where the characters and art direction has improved beyond this point, yet this episode still falls at the end of the season anyway. It was just a very, very odd choice to keep it in as the episode finale, at least in my opinion. It makes me wonder why they didn’t just scrap it entirely or at the very least, try to remake it with better animation later when they had access to it, instead of just releasing it as it already was. I imagine it had to do with financial reasons, in the sense of, if they just threw away what they had already gotten animated, it could have been a huge loss of money, so it made sense to work with what they already I had, I guess.

So yeah, after re-watching this episode again, I have to say that I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I would be. I still think this is far from the best episode of the season, but I came out of the watch feeling more positive about this one than I have ever been before, which I think is quite the accomplishment. It’s an awkward episode, sure, but once you get to main course, it offers plenty of thrills for everyone to enjoy. And hey, I’m not going to lie, it’s a good feeling to finally have Season 1 wrapped up with this amount of positivity.

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Guys…we’ve made it! Season 1 has officially been finished, and we can start looking forward to the future of this series. I have to say, this was a lot of fun to do and it was great to re-watch the first season and look at the episodes in a way I’ve never done before. It really opened my eyes to things I liked from episodes I was never really crazy about, and further confirmed why I love some episodes better than others. With that being said though, this is still only the first season and there are many, many seasons to go. Heck, even if I only focus on the golden age of The Simpsons, that’s still only one year of episodes versus at least 9 or 10 others, so I’m not going to be so quick to congratulate myself on a job well done. Although, I will say it feels good to finish 13 episodes in half of a year with really only 3 delays in between (where two of which I had no control over).

So how about the future of this series? Well, I will say for certain that I am looking forward to Season 2, but before I start, I’m going to take a bit of a break from this. Right now, I’m working on a bunch of different projects as it is on my Youtube channel and there are a lot of others things I need to figure out as well before I get myself too deep into something I may or may not be able to handle. Because once I start Season 2, I want to hit it hard and strong with no delays whatsoever, so the least I could do is wait until I know I can make that happen. If I had to give a date, it would probably be near the end of July or start of August, so stay tuned until then. For now though, this has been SlimKirby, and I’ll talk you guys later!

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