Teaching Active vs. Passive Voice with Metroid II Titles


English teachers tell their students to always write in the active voice when writing essays or arguments. However, these teachers tend to be vague in direction, meaning those listening have no clue what either active or passive voice actually look like on the page. Oftentimes, these confused kids have to turn to outside sources for help in writing the next great essay about To Kill A Mockingbird. And I am here to demonstrate the differences in active and passive voice using kids’ favorite medium for teaching: video games! Specifically, by comparing the titles of the original 1991 Game Boy release of Metroid II and the 2017 3DS remake, we can easily see how active and passive voice differ all while having fun!

Active Voice:

Active voice

The remake of Metroid II is fully titled “Metroid: Samus Returns”. This is a title written in active voice, and you can tell by the word ordering. It’s simple: subject followed by verb. Samus is the subject, and she is returning in this game as the title indicates. The title gets its point across in two words. The brevity and clarity of the title are the two main reasons why teachers prefer active voice in persuasive essays. Such a style eliminates word clutter and makes it easy to see the point. However, such simple writing of subject-verb can get repetitive after a while, kind of like hunting the 8 metroids in Area 2 of this game can get repetitive, so don’t be afraid to change up your style every once in a while.

Passive Voice:

Passive voice

“Metroid II: Return of Samus” inverts the subject-verb form. Such a formulation makes the subject of the sentence unclear. Until you get to the fifth and final word, you don’t know who is returning. Furthermore, “return” is being used as a noun instead of a verb. It’s a slight difference, but the change to a noun also takes away the urgency and action a verb would bring. Plus, this title takes more words to say the same thing. The passive style here muddies the clarity and weakens any point the title might have had. Both reasons are why teachers recommend active voice. That is not to say that passive voice does not have a place in writing. It just doesn’t work well when writing arguments or titles that want to grab the reader.

Hope today’s grammar lesson through video games helped you all. Keep gaming, and keep learning!


Intern, did you steal this from the Purdue OWL people? There are owl people in Purdue? I gotta go to… wait, where is Purdue? Indiana. That’s besides the point. We’re a comedy blog, not an educational blog. Seems like it’s time for me to give you a lesson. We haven’t been funny in years. You’re right, 2016 was 2 years ago. Not the point! Should’ve used active voice to have made your point then. See, I told you this post was worthwhile.

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You Know You Might Be A Criminal If…


The greatest stand-up comedians have all made their names with the catchphrase. Who could forget the comedian, Nikola Tesla, who came up with the awesome “it’s so hot/how hot is it?” setup? Or how about Thomas Edison’s hilarious “take my wife… please!” Or even the legendary Galileo Galilei’s listicle humor based around the phrase “you might be a redneck if…” Today, Pungry makes his mark on the stand-up comedy world with the newest, greatest set-up and punchline duo of the young new year. Give it up for:

YOU KNOW YOU MIGHT BE A CRIMINAL IF:

-You steal stuff
-You’re mean to people
-You dislike the law
-You talk about “the man”
-You look at stuff and want to steal it
-You pick only renegade options in video games
-You would download a car
-You claim Free Parking in Monopoly awards you $500
-You refer to your friend as a “partner in crime”
-You do illegal things
-You do legal things but don’t like it
-You drink coffee
-You break your aunt’s priceless Ming vase but don’t admit doing it
-You talk about stuff and you want to steal it
-You go outside in all-black all the time
-You go outside only at night
-You go outside to run away from people
-You go outside to get out of jail
-You go outside through a hole in a stone wall
-You think of steel bars when you hear the set-up “a guy walks into a bar”
-You go on a date to steal their stuff
-You don’t want to work
-You see pots and think of drugs. Also, you want to steal them
-You see someone pulling the “Federal Body Inspector” badge at a party and run away (actually this is something everyone should do when this person comes, please delete)
-You don’t follow requests in parentheses
-You don’t follow the mathematical order of operations
-You don’t follow the rules to Operation the Game
-You think this is a game?
-You hear about games and want to steal their stuff
-You make an unfunny list with zero self-awareness
-You steal stuff

And now, presenting the equally amazing and hilarious follow-up to the world-class comedy above! Witness:

YOU KNOW YOU MIGHT NOT BE A CRIMINAL IF:

-You buy marijuana for recreational use


New year, new Pungry. Ahh… great content find, intern. Love it. I knew I wasn’t a criminal. Sir, you don’t smoke weed, though. Ah, but I buy it for recreational use. If you don’t buy it to smoke it, what do you use it for? You know, recreational activities. …such as? I throw around the bag like a frisbee. Amazing, sir. A true inspiration to us all. I’m glad you’re our leader for at least one more year. And I’m glad you’re our intern forever. …I’m thinking I might be a criminal.

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2017


I’m not sure why I started this look-back tradition in 2015, but now that I’ve started it, I’ve got to keep doing it. Right? Right.

That little exchange sums up a lot of what I’ve been feeling these past two weeks. The first part of my internal monologue touches on my current thoughts on “objectivity”. Granted, I feel like most people realize that there is no such thing as true objectiveness, but as someone who started writing seriously when acting as a journalist, it has always been something I’ve strived for. Even when it comes to covering I’m clearly biased towards, I pretended to be objective.

As such, I’ve been struggling on what I want to write for this “holistic” look back at 2017. My mood has flipped multiple times in the past four days, which was when I started thinking about what to write. At one point, I was going to start off by writing about how I didn’t fulfill two of my major writing goals over the year, and failed to write important stuff in a timely fashion. Such as two weeks ago when I had a major deadline I just didn’t write for until I was sick and on a special day that I should not have been doing work. That column would’ve looked at 2017 as 100% depressing, with little optimism showing up in the final cut.

Then, just a day after thinking that, my mood shifted to something much happier, because happy things happened in “real life”. That mood told me that, regardless of finishing the large projects, I accomplished much in starting and getting through a lot of each, and that I did actually write a whole bunch of other, smaller, good stuff that deserved recognition. That column would have been far more positive, and wouldn’t have captured any of the equally-real feelings of frustration that 2017 definitely had.

As such, my internal monologue came exactly to that little back and forth that prefaces all this. I’ve caused a lot of creative paralysis for myself this year in how I’ve thought about what I do. Let’s just take a random Saturday over the past month as an example. Some friends invited me to a bar to drink. My first inclination was to decline and stay home, which is something I’ve done every time I’ve been asked. Then, I asked myself why I would decline the invitation, as it is anti-social and from many perspectives a bad choice. My response to myself was that it is what I’ve done in the past, it is part of a character that people seem to like, therefore to continue the goodwill it would be best to act as I always have done and to decline. After all, if I do something else, won’t people dislike the “new me”?

I’ve explained this to friends and they question the logic saying that the part of my character that turns down drinks is not a part of my character that attracts them, which I understand. But what if it is? What if, somehow, if I did go on a bar crawl, I would stopped being liked? I’m too scared of change, even in the lowest of stakes. Which is why you’re reading this in the first place. Since my internal monologue convinced me this is a tradition on this website, and I must continue it regardless of feeling.

But, of course, I’ve already disproved “feelings” as being some totality. Even my desperate-to-not-change self can realize that feelings are extremely mutable. But somehow once those abstract feelings are made concrete, whether it be a whim made into a blog post or an instinctual refusal to go out that turns into a habit, I give them much more respect and try not to change the actions made on the feelings.

This got way more personal than I thought it would. Which reminds me of something else that was stuck on my brain for much of 2017: “the truth of the future destroys the truth of the past”. That’s a mangled quote from an obscure video game about solving a serial murder. You can tell it’s right because as far as you know the “true form” of the quote is what I have presented to you in this future while in actuality the perfect quotation was made and lost in the past. I just found that concept of the quote really interesting. Nothing else to it.

I also find it real interesting that the terrible Spyro the Dragon Soundtracks post keeps getting me views. Of my 2000 views this year (which is a number I am very happy to reach), a quarter were of that post. People whose stuff actually goes viral deal with this question, but I myself find pondering “why exactly did that of everything on this site get so much traffic?” Obviously, it is something people are interested in, but still slightly obscure, so the content has some level of attractiveness. It is a little frustrating seeing that and other old posts get views as the post from 2017 with the highest traffic only got 19 views. I’d like to think that I’m writing some good stuff, but the objective numbers just don’t agree.

But, once again, I’ve proved that nothing is objective. So, I can say that I won 2017, and while the truth in the future may prove that statement wrong, the truth is that I’m tired now and am content thinking that I did actually win 2017. See y’all next year.

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Closer


Wild Cub is this generation’s defining indie band. Not just in their pure indie rock sound, but also in pure indie trajectory. The band is based out of Portland, which is the “indiest” city imaginable. They released an album to zero acclaim in 2013 before having their single Thunder Clatter gain some relevancy due to being used in a phone commercial, both extremely indie things to do. Then they didn’t make anything for four years and lost any sort of place they had in the popular consciousness, another super indie move. Finally, they came back in 2017 with an album that perfectly hits one note again and again; the practice of doing something obscure to perfection without press is the indie dream.

Unfortunately for them, they did not count on someone indier in every conceivable way from reviewing their album. Pungry wins another battle of irrelevancy as even the least viewed tracks off of Closer have more plays than my site has total hits.

Honestly, I am sad that Wild Cub aren’t more popular. As I said, their new album, Closer (which does NOT contain a cover of that horrid Chainsmokers song, stop asking), is indie rock polished to perfection. That perfection does come with a price. Whereas the band’s first album, Youth, was longer and had more tracks, the first album also had variety in sound. Closer is a collection of 11 high-energy supernovas. It’s only 40 minutes, but the sheer youthfulness and naivety of the album makes it exhausting to listen to. It’s the kind of album I asked to be made 3 years ago.

Basically, what I’m saying is that you have to be young to stand listening to this album. Everything about it is too bright, too perfect. Like looking at someone’s unnaturally reflective white teeth, Closer is objectively a great thing, but dang it is hard to stand at times. Don’t get me wrong, I like the album a lot. It might even be my choice for album of the year. Each track is awesome… it’s just the collection of these 11 together is less than the sum of its parts. There needed to be a song like Streetlights or Drive that sounded different to help the tracks stand out. As it stands, each song is as good as another. Kids in families of 11 children or more probably have similarly tough times being individuals like these tracks do. I’ll try to give unique thoughts on each, but… gonna be hard.

The album starts off with Magic. Honestly though the song names could be rearranged for the most part without anyone noticing. That’s because each track basically uses the same language. Magic, for instance, has reference a plenty to songs in the band’s past (“distant thunder” = Thunder Clatter, “shape” = Shapeless, “color” = …Colour) and to songs on the album (“true words are fire” = fire). In literature, we say that authors who come full circle in material are geniuses. In music, audiences seem less forgiving. But, as I’ve said, I feel like Wild Cub absolutely captures everything that embodies indie rock, and this recycling of lyrics feels very on key for indie rock. So it’s good. Oh, and I like the upbeat song of Magic.

I Fall Over is my pick for best song off the album. The vocal hook captured me immediately, and the rhythm of the chorus is just off enough to stand out from the rest of the similarly cathartic anthems on the album.

Speak was the second single off the album, and the first to really get me excited. I don’t know what to say. The choice of instruments is perfect. The chords used are perfect. The lyrics are nonsensical but easy to sing along to, so they’re perfect. And the video captures the perfect mood for this song to be playing: screaming it down a freeway at night.

Clicks’ hook sounds suspiciously like I Fall Over but has the disconnected optimism of Speak. Also, whenever the chorus starts, I think of the song “Over My Head” by The Fray. Once again, I’m unsure of a song’s title. There’s nothing to do with clicks in anyway in this song. Did someone in Wild Cub wildly misinterpret SEO? Cause naming your song “clicks” does not actually get you more clicks.

Wait also reminds me of a popular song I’m not too fond of. This time, it’s Imagine Dragon’s “Demons” that the band evokes. Of course, it’s done by a band I like, so it sounds good. Wait is the uniquest track on the album. The only ballad. String-focused. Keegan’s voice sounds awful at times. All in all, it’s memorable. But is that a good thing? It still sounds good, so… yes.

Somewhere was the album’s first single. The intro reminds me heavily of Headlights by Morning Parade, another perfect indie rock band. It’s also another memorable track off the album because it’s got a horn section. It fits well. But again, where on earth did the band get the title “Somewhere” from?

Mirror is your classic indie rock song that sounds so bright yet is so depressing on true reflection. That’s a pun. Please laugh. Now that you’ve laughed, enjoy the song! Not With You is a return to the speed and frenzy of the other tracks. The “bass” synth in the background is really cool sounding. And Keegan sounds super urgent in his delivery, so it’s great. It all fits together in this tragic tale of a song.

Fire’s intro also sounds like another popular song, but I can’t place it this time. I’ve really ran out of stuff to say here. It’s another really good indie rock song! Why are you reading this still? Why am I being mean to my most dedicated fan by calling you out? Both are questions I simply cannot answer.

Rain breaks out the steel drums for a slow intro before getting back into an upbeat groove when the song “truly” starts. For some reason, the way this bass sounds makes me think of Haim’s bassist playing on SNL with all her “bass face”. Don’t ask. Anyway, it’s another fun song that actually is kind of tragic when you read the lyrics. Classic Wild Cub. The album ends with Go. And guess what? It’s fun and upbeat. It does have a memorable ending with three guys yelling “go go go” before the last chorus comes in. I like it a lot.

On reflection, the lyrics of this album paint some sort of narrative of love and loss, but each song is so fun that I just turn my brain off and enjoy the sound. Sorry, Wild Cub. You guys are too good at crafting mindlessly good sounding songs that I can’t analyze your stuff at all. I really hope you all make another album before four more years pass. I promise to pay more attention and respect to your lyrics then.

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The Gaming Future


Feh… while all you bad boys are out dating women, us gamers (who are also women) are dating our video games, allowing us to “progress” (game term) on the “skill tree” (game term) to “level up” (game term) our knowledge (game term) to become all your bosses (game term). They say the meek will inherit the Earth, and there is no force meeker but greater than us gamers, but that’s because we’ve been preparing for the Gamer Future. Let me offer you foolish fools who have controlled your characters (game term) to a bad ending (game term) a glimpse into this glorious future in which we shall be at the level cap (game term) and you all left with bottlecaps (alcoholic term).

IN the gamer future, people will bring a humble video game rather than wine for a housewarming present. The pinot noir will fall to the wayside in favor of “point” (an anagram of pinot) n click adventure games.

IN the gamer future, resumes will list recent games COMPLETED, video game achievements, and game character references, who are the characters that you would personally call to ask for a recommendation. Me? Of course I would list Professor Layton, Phoenix Wright, and Ph. D Dr. Mario.

IN the gamer future, people will exclaim upon finishing a consumable that they have “one-hundred percented” it. For example, I 100%d the graphic novel Asterios Polyp before I 100%d my dinner of pizza rolls and off-brand Mountain Dew.

IN the gamer future, sports will be banned, and jocks will be sent to hard labor. Hey, I don’t write the future, I simply see it. Just as how Jeremy will see his comeuppance after cheating to beat me for the final slot on the JV tennis team freshman year.

IN the gamer future, religions will be allowed, but only if they accept video game characters as the new idols of worship. I must already recommend to stay away from the Sonic religion, those guys are weird.

IN the gamer future, people will stop automatically saying “gamer” in a dismissive, sarcastic tone.

IN the gamer future, I hardly know er!

As stated earlier, enjoy, mortals, your last days of “normal life”, for the gamer future is nigh. You may have made fun of us for having “no life”, but we truly have many, and all of them will help us craft (game term) a new, brighter, gamier future! Wait, gamier is a word? It appears even the Dictionary is on our side. You cannot stop… the game!


Intern, this is horrendous. I know. That’s not even close to what “gamier” actually means. No, I’m talking about this future. He’s right! All I’ve done these past 50 years was date women and push people off of JV sports teams! What shall I do? Clearly, you must repent at the new altar. I recommend one of Sonic’s churches. I shall go, with godspeed. You mean with sonicspeed.

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An Interview with an English Major


This past Monday, I sat down with my good friend and English major Riley Sheahan. I hoped my ineffable acquaintance would have something to say about his major considering course registration is coming up, and I’m looking for some good filler classes.

John Keller (JK): What classes are you signing up for next semester?

Riley Sheahan (RS): Well, I don’t know if this is exactly the kind of answer your question is looking for, but I just think it needs to be said because the people here just don’t really get it, you know?

JK: That didn’t answer my question at all. I asked about what courses you’re taking.

RS: Oh, yeah, nah, yeah, like we get it but we don’t get it and I just feel really strongly that someone needs to stand up and just say everything that we as a collective are thinking of, you feel me?

JK: Are you even taking classes next semester?

RS: Oh yeah, yeah, totally, man, totally, that just reminds me of the book “The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus, a Roman Slave” which I’m sure you’ve heard of, but just in case I’ll explain since I really think it’s relevant to the question you asked and once I explain it that relevancy will come real apparent, okay it’s this Roman slave who says a bunch of moral things, you know, and it’s like some crazy stuff like “slavery is bad” and I just think that in this political climate and in this economy especially that like you know he was right and I know that it doesn’t sound like it’s relevant but if you really think about it I think you’ll know I’m right.

JK: What?

RS: I mean, just like Publius was and frankly that’s what I truly think. Anyway, I gotta run, I still haven’t finished my 250 word response to the reading since I just don’t know what to say.

 

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Inside a Dream


Of all the musical albums I own, I am most embarrassed to show off my copy of Echosmith’s debut album “Talking Dreams”. iTunes may think the band is “punk” but I think their genre system is “junk”. As is the album, for the most part. Alright, that’s unfair. I genuinely like it.

Hang on, I think I accidentally recycled everything I said the first time I wrote about Echosmith. Let me check… https://pungry.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/bands-on-my-ipod-echosmith/. Hmm, yep. Even used the same joke about Echosmith being classified as punk on iTunes. Great. What else did I say in that piece?

“I’m looking forward to seeing what Echosmith will do for their next album. It’ll probably be nothing earth-shaking, like this album wasn’t, but it’ll probably be more solid music. And the world could always do with more solid music.”

Well, who knew it would take the siblings four years to live up to this simple hope? Four years and one sibling lost later, Echosmith is back as a trio with the 7-song EP Inside a Dream. Instead of focusing on a particular sound off of Talking Dreams, the band has shifted to sounding closer to a generic pop band. At the very least, the pop sound they capture is closer to Phoenix-influenced pop of 2012 or so than the newest, godawful wave of edgy pop music as produced by Katy Perry or Taylor Swift.

Did I just write that sentence? Man, that’s awful. I’m going to stop sounding bitter about becoming an old man and instead focus on what’s playing in my headphones right now. Oh, would you look at that? It’s the new Echosmith EP. I liked their first album, and it’s too bad they had to delay their second one until February of next year, isn’t it? That song Cool Kids was a real banger, I hope they have one as good here! I’m a little worried that they just got extremely lucky with that, but hey all that matters is what we got.

The EP starts with the chillpop song Lessons. A friend of mine I showed the song to said it sounded like a natural evolution to Taylor Swift’s 1989 sound, and I can see it. It’s a simple, slightly-clever pop song. Plus, if you read the lyrics, they basically sound like a sequel to Style. It isn’t offensive, nor is it catchy. Some may condemn a piece of art for not making any real impression, but if you can listen to a song for 3 and a half minutes without thinking it sucks, isn’t that an achievement in itself?

Get Into My Car is very hard for me to evaluate without any further context. The reason for that is the hilarious music video. It really is just multiple ads stringed together in a hackneyed way. But I like the song a lot. The way she “sings” the word “car” in that odd pitch stuck with me and got the track in my head despite the tasteless music video and bad lyrics. Again, it’s a well-written pop song that just works. One cynical thing I will say is how the music video does not go well with the EP’s theme of being young and confused; these guys know exactly what they’re doing when framing the McDonald’s logo in the camera’s center.

18 is by far the best song on the album. It’s pure Phoenix, and I love it. This is the first song that Sydney sings about being young and confused. What confuses me is that she’s 20! Ah well, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say she wrote the lyrics when she was 18. Future Me follows, and is not quite as good, but is another solid pop song about being young. The synths in the chorus sound like something out of a Chainsmokers track, but Sydney’s voice is far less “corporate” sounding than those guys. Her optimistic lyrics and vocals work with the sound.

Goodbye was the first single off the EP. It’s the only song on the EP that is about somebody other than the speaker, so it is a bit out of place. Plus, it’s a little “darker” in tone. It makes for a good change of pace from all the bright hooks and melodies. I like it. Hungry is easily the lowest of the 7 tracks, but it isn’t terrible. Out of the 7, it is the hardest to dance to. And the lyrics just aren’t great. Love and appetite are never an appealing connection. Now, if the song was called “Pungry”, it’d be way better.

The EP ends with another affirming-but-fearful song about being young called Dear World. It’s a nice, chill way to close out the album, and sums up the message of the first six tracks. Echosmith mastered the art of the five paragraph essay, especially the summarizing conclusion. All in all, Echosmith is a good pop band that makes good pop music, and it is okay for me to like them.

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