Sub-Par League XIX, Week 2, The Chancers Won Four Straight? That Can’t Be Right

Games of the Week

Dr. Doolittle is a cautionary tale (or tail if you’re a groan-inducing comedy writer) about an unmarried man who learns to speak to animals via his parrot, opens a vet clinic, nearly goes bankrupt, steals a ship to travel to Africa to solve a monkey epidemic, gets robbed by pirates on the way back, and is forced to perform in the circus until he’s able to retire some many years later because he was still so poor after the trip. Centralia Corgis’ relief pitcher Sean Doolittle could’ve avoided performing in the circus, but, after blowing a two run lead in the top of the eighth, he might as well be DFC’d now (designated for circus).

Not that it was all Sean’s fault. Sure, he gave up an RBI single to Willie Keeler to make it a 6-5 ballgame, but Craig Kimbrel shares some of the blame for giving up the crushing 2 RBI single to Joe Torre that gave the Spiders a 7-6 lead. A sacrifice fly from Gabby Hartnett that scored Mazus the Merciless gave the Spiders an important insurance run that prevented Stan Musial’s leadoff homerun in the bottom of the ninth from doing more damage than it did. Trevor Hoffman closed the door on the Corgis, and they fell to 2-4 in one-run ballgames. A poor statistic that belies the team’s early bullpen issues.

Former Super League ombudsman and Glass Spiders’ owner FairGame had mixed feelings at his press conference. “It is a tragedy of justice that I should even be down here in the mire of sub-par misery. The ombudsman of the Super League cannot bloom in the dark swamp. A pox on those who have cursed me upon a black star. Mazus the Merciless shall live up to his name and I shall be back above in due time. Mark my words.”

Jampact, the owner of the Centralia Corgis, threatened to withhold future pictures of Hype should her team continue to struggle in one-run games. “Now, I’m not saying that Pungry explicitly has an anti-Cubs bias, but it seems awfully suspicious that my bullpen full of former Cubs is doing so poorly. I’m sure Smasher would love to hear about any possible anti-Cubs commissionering, if such a thing was happening. But I’m sure it isn’t, and these sort of one-run losses will sort themselves out eventually. Or I’ll sort him out,” Jampact said at her press conference, before siccing Hype on the reporters and ending the press conference.

The Oklahoma City Bombers have been in the Super League long enough to know that you cannot trust Rollie Fingers at any time. Going into the ninth, the Bombers had built a 6-2 lead thanks to Joe Williams’ solid 7.0 innings, 1 run start, but Fingers nearly burned it all down. A one-out RBI single from Paul Waner cut the lead to 6-3, then Ted, not Thed, Williams launched a two run homerun with two outs to make it a 6-5 ballgame, and bring up The Final Donslaught with the tying run at the plate. Donslaught worked the count full before striking out to a Fingers’ Frisbee, ending the Horny Goats’ comeback, and giving the Bombers the win.

Mentholmoose, the Bombers’ owner, defended his closer in his post-game interview. “Listen, Rollie has always had everything under his control. Everything he does is carefully calculated. Think back to the Marauder days. The Merry Marauder’s Fingers would purposely blow saves to his alt’s teams so that they could all eventually meet up in the World Series. It’s no different here. No, I’m not saying I’m the alt of Marauder as well. Probably. At least I’m not Mooseontheloose’s alt, as was demonstrably proven when I defeated him in Moose-tal Combat all those years ago. What was I saying? Oh yeah, Bombers 4 life.”

Forzelt’s Horny Goats appeared to have been shaken by the loss, as the team went on to lose every game in a brutal 0-6 week after it started off with this near-comeback. “I’ve never been one for optimism, being born in South Dakota and a part of a triad of ‘friends’ that refuse to pick each other up from the bar. Heck, I fled for Hawaii the first chance I got. The Final Donslaught was the Final Donsl-out today, but he’ll get chances to make up for it,” said Forzelt. “I just hope he does better with these chances than a certain someone out there who I’d like to send through a thresher.”

According to Wikipedia, the only place to learn about what happens in novels on high school required reading lists, Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle ends with the leader of a religion saying that, if he was a younger man, he’d place a book about human stupidity at the top of a nearby mountain and commit suicide while thumbing his nose at God. Well, Monicro is young enough to be able to do that, as their team, the San Lorenzo Bokonists, seemed to purposefully fall one run short of tying the San Juan Senadores in a 12-11 loss. Cal Ripken struck out looking to end the game right after Joe Dimaggio hit a solo homerun to make it a one run ballgame, and oystertoadfish’s Senadores hung on.

“See, you just don’t get it, man,” said Monicro in their postgame interview. “Just think about the themes our team touched on in our performance. Futility in the face of death, self-awareness as to the humor in it all, losing to the impoverished and uncultured island nation of San Juan, and nine players in the lineup a la the ice-nine in Bokono’s mouth. I’m going to get an A this quarter in AP English from Miss Sparks this year simply by showing her the results of this fantasy fantasy baseball simulation. It is truly the most post-modern and intellectual work anyone at Anime High School has ever seen.”

oystertoadfish seemed to have his mind on things other than the game. “I just really hope we can parlay our hot start to a playoff spot in the Sub-Par and earn a rightful promotion to the Super League. In the Australian Football League, you can finish first in your division, and still lose your chance to make the playoffs by finishing third in your quadrant, or twelfth in your circumference,” said the Senadores’ owner. “It’s really quite simple. You need only earn at a tuppence pace every fourthnight in order to take home a playoff spot in the matrix, then continue that pace while beating off other-dimensional foes to win the parallel world ballasts, and once that’s clinched you’ve basically won your kumquat and a championship is soon to follow. Just take a look at this simple flowchart I’ve made highlighting how it all works.”
oystertoadfish then held up said flowchart, which drove most of the reporters in the room to madness, and I dare not attempt to recreate it lest I succumb as well.

Try scoring 19 runs every game instead of just one game.

Babe Ruth refuses to bunt. I think it’s time to get this loser off the bastards of Buntsville.

Some guy named Ken Hill has a 0.00 ERA through 6 innings on a team with a collective ERA of 5.07. That’s wild.

Finally a day off for the overtaxed Corgis. Hype brings some energy, but not sure this team could last much longer without one.

Walter Johnson is killing Pedro Martinez out of spite for not being in the rotation.

That Mazus guy sure knows how to hit homeruns and nothing else.

I may have to adjust the Final Donslaught’s numbers. Rough week.

What a fascinating Jekyll and Hyde team. Everyone else in the sub-par loves some one-run games, but these guys just play blowouts!

If you go 4-2 for the entire season, you’ll probably win the league.

I know the pain of having 3 players hitting under .170 in the starting lineup, as a Mariners fan.

Beet takes round one of the veteran super league owner grudge match.

6-0 in one-run games and a 5-7 pythag probably means regression eventually but ride the wave while you’re on it. Team of destiny?

The cat’s in the cradle with a silver spoon / Monicro ought to call up Bobby Abreu

That Speaker injury is unfortunate considering he’s hitting at an MVP level, and Cy Young candidate Jim McCormick can only pitch every five days.

Jesus Christ, Mickey Cochrane. Single-handedly carrying this team.

Four game win streak! Heck yeah.

You’ve tried outscoring your pitching, but have you tried outscoring them more? Going to be hard with Cochrane out.

Stan Musial freaking sucks compared to Cochrane! Get your act together! You think a .453 OBP is going to save the stick club?

This team does not fear the reaper of never scoring runs, that’s for sure.

When every player on your lineup has an OBP over .320, you’re doing something right.

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Subpar Season XIX, Week 1, Pungry’s Small Adventure

Editor’s Note: After some ten-odd years of hanging out as part of a fantasy fantasy baseball league, I have taken on a pretty major role as the commissioner of the league below it. This duty takes a lot of energy if you want to do everything the main commissioner does. It requires tons of mindless busywork setting up the save file on Baseball Mogul, plenty of patience to read every post from every owner who wants to change who their #9 hitter is, and an incredible amount of creative energy to write about what happened in a baseball simulator that has very little to show instead of tell. It will be taking all my focus for the next month and a half to put together, with updates every other day.

As such, I’ll be cross-posting my updates over here, since all of my writing will be going into that. Feel free to ignore it like everything else. In the interest of space, I’ve omitted most screenshots, and have only posted how the ones showing how the teams did.



The Seventh Sea Chancers were… how you say… “bad” in the Expansion Cup. Beating a division contender after losing 128 games in the expansion cup would’ve been a huge victory for Ablative’s new-look Chancers. So, going into the ninth, up 2 to 1 with the bottom of Winnipeg’s lineup due up, Ablative turned to solid-but-forgotten Ray Herbert to shut the door. Herbert rolled a 1.

Roberto Clemente hit a one-out single to start the rally off, and scored on a Robinson Cano triple, which you know is a bad sign. Wade Boggs hit a ground ball to shortstop Lou Boudreau, who decided that Cano’s speed was too much, and Boudreau threw to first instead of home, letting Cano score the winning run. Tom Daly hit a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Chancers some life, but Pete Rose immediately grounded out to end the game.

“Yeehaw! It’s time for y’all to fly that Canadian W, pardners!” said Winnipeg Baseball Team’s owner, Edward Mass. “Now, I know what most folks are thinkin’. What’s this Texan doing with a Canadian team? Well, I’ll tell ya one thing, cowboy: we ain’t movin’. This ain’t the Expos, son! All the cattle I need are already here in Winnipeg giving the finest Canadian bacon in the Americas! Just don’t you pay no mind to the low-effort redesign of the team’s logo and name—the Nordiques made a big show of a new logo and proved to be all hat. Not like us Winnipeg Baseball Teamers… we’re sticking in the True North just like the stars.”

Chancer owner Ablative was nonplussed by the loss. “What is but one more loss on this journey we call life other than another stepping stone to its conclusion? As we roll through our lives, one D20 roll after the other, there will be times we roll twenties, and there will be times we roll ones, but is it not the best course of action to roll with the punches instead? I expect my team’s luck to turn around sometime. Ideally before it loses another 128 games.”


American hero CBX’s new team exploded for ten runs on nine hits in the third, and sent fifteen men to the plate in the process. But Sneki Sneks’ starter Pedro Martinez almost single-handedly gave the game back to the South Dakota Marmosets over the course of the next three innings, exiting the game with a 12-10 lead. Willie Hernandez gave up another run, but John Wetteland shut the door with a four-out save, giving the Sneki Sneks a big win over a Twin Cities Triad titan.

“What a heckin chonker of a won!” said CBX. “Pedro was doin me a frighten as he borked the Marmos right into mlem range of my Sneki Sneks, but Wetty booped the Marmo’s snoot for teh win!” When asked why he kept Martinez in the game through six innings despite giving up ten runs (six earned) in that timeframe, CBX responded “Martinez is a longboi. How could you look into that floofer’s face and tell him ‘no’? He just wants to be fren.”

Marmosets’ owner Zodiac5000 expressed sadness in his post-game interview. “It’s times like these that prove that we’re all just going to die alone in the end. Nothing really matters. Pash will never pick me up from the bar that is life. I am doomed to die alone, and I don’t even have Chelsea Baker to kill me anymore.” A reporter pointed out that Zodiac could always ask for The Final Donslaught to do the honors. “Donslaught? Pah. Do you know why he’s The Final Donslaught? It’s not because he’s strong. It’s because he’s too weak to survive. He is the last man in the noble Donslaught lineage. He should have oodles of women throwing themselves at him. Instead, Kelsie Whitmore is throwing softballs at him. Pathetic man.”


Albert Pujols made up for ending the Stick Club’s eighth-inning rally by driving home Dan Brouthers in the bottom of the tenth to beat the Milan Mosquitoes 4-3. Mosquito reliever Stan Covelski took the loss after throwing 44 pitches in 2 innings of work while real baseballer that everyone loves, Tom Burgmeier, got the win for his scoreless inning of work in the tenth.

Mosquitoes’ owner GVOLTT was not amused by the loss. “How can this team be allowed to play without a name? Winnipeg Baseball Team is already stretching the idea of a team name, and you expect me to believe something called ‘Stick Club Appellation Hither’ can fly? That name can’t even fit inside of Mogul’s character limits! They’re ‘Stick Club Appellation Hith’! I’ll refer to this band of losers as the ‘Hiths’ from now on.” said GVOLTT. “And for those of you doubting whether there are mosquitoes in Milan or not, I’ll have you know there’s over 500,000 results for ‘milan mosquitoes’ on Google. Not that I’d ever go to godless Italy to check.”

Hiths owner TheoSqua reportedly showed up for his post-game interview, but all that was in the press conference chair was a baseball bat with a face drawn on it. Press were instructed that all questions be directed to “El Shaddai” who kept the same look of slight self-satisfaction in silence as reporters asked question after question about Stick Club’s logo, origins, lineups, and connection to God. The press conference ended as reporters walked out in frustration while Shaddai kept his all-knowing look.

Small sample size theatre, but perhaps try getting more Bs in the bullpen instead of Cs as they lead to Ls.

Splitting a series with the Bombers has to feel good, even if it may not feel great that Rheal Deal Cornier couldn’t close one of those one-run losses out.

Unsurprisingly, this team’s offense does not appear to be what’ll hold them back. Stolen base leader Babe Ruth might.

The Hype Machine off to a strong start.

Pegasus Knight Eddie Plank keeps getting sniped by arrows because you refuse to move him out of range of the ballista. Why? Why do you do this to one-thirds the
Golden Deer triangle attack?

Trashcan functionality has finally been added to mogul, it appears.

Grantham sacrificed himself to counteract the usual blood magik from the Dragons. It led to a 4 game sweep, so it wasn’t in vain.

Small sample size but it feels comforting to see anyone with a worse slashline than Jarred Kelenic, 2021 Mariner.

Mickey Mantle and Rod Carew sure have some wacky slashlines this early for completely opposite reasons.

George Sisler’s plague has found its way onto half your starting lineup. Unfortunate, but what else do you expect to happen to a team called the Mosquitoes?

Four out of seven games decided by one run. This team will give its fans heart attacks.

Everyone in the Super League agrees: it’s time to put Ichiro in at 2B for Lou Whitaker.

No, seriously, what is a bokonononononist? Is there a Gwen Stefani song that’ll help me learn how to spell it?

At least Gehringer is killing the heck out of the baseball?

Solid start. Gonna be fun to see how the Adelie division separates itself out.

It will be very hard to win games scoring 1.5 runs per game. But, hey, pitching and defense looks good!

I’m very glad it’s Kelsie Whitmore and not Chelsea Baker on this team these days. She would absolutely kill everyone with this level of pitching.

Hither and thither this team comes and goes. Stan Musial off to a great start.

This team got a little unlucky this week. Low-event baseball can be effective if your events are stronger than your opponents, so I recommend hitting more homeruns.

Raise the W!

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Coldplay’s Coloratura Annotated

Coldplay’s latest single from their upcoming album, Music of the Spheres, is a ten minute and forty-seven second epic space rock opera piece titled Coloratura. It is by far the longest song ever released by the band, and features as many literary references as fellow Brit T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. However, unlike that pompous nonsense, the literary references in Coldplay’s opus are quite distinguished and, dare I say it, luminary in comparison to that gutter trash. But, enough about The Stupid Eliot, I’ll go through every line in the song that contains an allusion (usually a name) and explain just what exactly they’re alluding to!

Coloratura, the title of the song and very first lyric, is a classical music term that refers to elaborate melodies that feature virtuoso movements like trills and runs. It also refers to an opera singing style that mirrors that type of instrumentation. That said, Coldplay has used the word in a completely different way–Coloratura is a “place” rather than a music in this soundscape. The place we’ve dreamed about in Coldplay’s The Escapist, for instance. Oh, but if I talk about all the allusions to past Coldplay songs that Coloratura has, we’d be here forever. Let’s skip to the first batch of namedrops in the chorus!

Galileo and those pining for the moon

Galileo is the name of a character from Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color. In that game, you play as a nameless character that befriends a set of orphan twins, Taro and Zoe. From them, you learn that their father, Galileo, was one of the best Doodlers in the world and left the society your character’s from in order to escape the corrupt king that’s been enforcing Doodlers to work for him. Through your long quest in this bright and cheery world, you eventually come to find out that Galileo passed away. You never quite learn how he died, but it’s safe to assume that this Galileo pined for a better world–one where the colors of the moon could shine through. Coldplay too joins in wishing for that moon as well with Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color, and continues to name drop others that wish for that moon.

Through Pioneer

Star Citizen is a game that may never, ever, ever come out. It is the most ambitious space exploration simulator ever devised, and all of the budget is spent on creating things to supplement the game, rather than the game itself. Once such example of this is the Pioneer capital ship. It is designed to be an effective “pioneer” spaceship in the same way carriages were pioneer wagons of the Oregon Trail. The literal design of it has been sold for $850 according to the Star Citizen Wiki. For a fake spaceship in a video game that will never be made. Pioneer is pining for the moon, a home to exist. But Star Citizen refuses to come out.

and Hеlix

Helix is a playable boxer in ARMS. Helix was created by scientists as an experiment to prove the merit of the scientists’ research, which is always a great sign. “How do we know their science is good?” “Because they did science to prove they were good!” Dr. Coyle, the lead on the project, felt that Helix was a failure for breaking out of the test tube too early, and Helix (which is a self-conscious bipedal pile of green goo with a mouth that has lips and teeth) wants to prove Coyle wrong, and that it is a success. Perhaps trying to show that Galileo might have already made it to the moon all along.


I’m not sure if the lyrics site, or Coldplay got this wrong, but it’s spelled ‘Oumuamua, and begins with the symbol ‘okina from the Hawaiian language. ‘Oumuamua is the first interstellar object ever to make it into our solar system. No one really knows its origin. Whether it’s an alien probe, or just a random piece of rock (far more likely), the solitary comet is also pining for its moon. Pretty cool reference of Coldplay to drop. I know I didn’t of it when the discovery of the object happened on 10/19/2017.


Heliopause isn’t a thing in the same way the other things Coldplay have referenced are things. The heliopause is the theoretical boundary where the sun’s solar wind is stopped by interstellar medium. It’s just a theory… a game theory. That said, one of NASA’s Voyager’s probes did appear to cross through the heliosphere somewhere around 2012-3, but it couldn’t stop. The heliosphere would never pine for a moon because it is just a space. Specifically, a space revolving around the sun. Far away from moons. Come on, Coldplay. You just said that to sound smart.


Neptune is the main character of Hyperdimension Neptunia, a game series in which you play as anime human versions of morally good video game consoles that attempt to save their various worlds and dimensions from morally evil video game consoles by flying around and shooting them. It is as weird and creepy as it sounds, and I do not appreciate Coldplay giving the series such a major shoutout. Even if it is on brand for Neptune to pine for a moon without evil video game consoles like the SNES.

Through Voyager,

We mentioned a Voyager on this list already, but Coldplay’s talking about the cancelled video game titled Voyager. Based on the TV show, Star Trek: Voyager, the game was to be a classic 90’s PC FMV adventure game featuring the main cast from the TV show. But Viacom decided to leave the games industry so that they could get bought by Comcast or whatever, and the game makers founded the company that eventually developed Bioshock Infinite and prove that video games were art once and for all. Coldplay wanted to give a shoutout to those disgruntled layoffs for finding their moon, and exposing gamers’ ignorance when they thought that a reference in Bioshock Infinite to the Battle of Wounded Knee was an epic reference to Skyrim. You guys did god’s work.


The Callisto Protocol is the name of an upcoming survival horror video game. Coldplay feels like the band whose music would least resonate with the survival horror but this seems like an obvious hint that Chris Martin and company will be producing the score for the game. The Police’s drummer, Stewart Copeland, proved that great musicians are great musicians, no matter if they’re making music in a band or for a video game, so I’m excited.


Calliope Games is a traditional board game maker that’s most well-known for the board game Tsuro. Coldplay are well-known as avid gamers, so it’s no surprise they’d shout out one of their favorite game makers in the middle of a song. The goal of Tsuro is to extend your set of tiles further than anyone else, and the tiles can easily be revised from a dragon’s body to an astronaut’s rope as said astronaut pines for that moon.


Betelgeuse is, surprise, surprise, an indie game on Steam that was released last year. This simple block-rolling puzzler must’ve struck a chord for the band as they struggled through COVID. One set of puzzles in the game involves pushing four square rocks at the same time with all of them moving through the grid the same way. That symbolizes what Coldplay felt as a band of four, pushing through COVID together while apart–in lockstep and choreograph, if not together. Anyway, all the small rocks you push are actually part of a moon and who cares who’s reading this

the Neon Moons

Neon Moon is the name of a single by country band Brooks & Dunn. It’s a classic country song about the singer’s loved one leaving them, and how everything reminds them of their ex, and that they spend every night unable to do anything but wait for them to come back. You know the type. Yes, it’s weird of Coldplay to say that the neon moons are pining for their own moons, but: 1. moons can have moons of their own 2. mayhaps it is one neon moon pining for another neon moon and their online dating app preferences have them looking too closely for them to find each other… what a tragedy.

Pluribus unum

Pluribus Unum is a Latin phrase you might’ve heard before as “E pluribus unum”, the United States’ motto. Pluribus unum can be translated as either “number one” or the far more common “out of many, one”. Coldplay is obviously referring to themselves as “number one” with this lyric, and if it was any band other than Coldplay, I’d give them a hard time for it. But Coldplay is truly “pluribus unum”. Which might be lonely for them, and why they too pine for a moon to be their number two.

unus mundus

And lastly, another Latin phrase. Unus mundus is Latin for “one world”. Coldplay has long been dogged by comparisons to U2. It is here that they cheekily reference their major influence by quoting U2’s “One” in Latin. Perchance Coldplay considers themselves the moon that circles U2? But to me, the world is coldplayocentric rather than u2ocentric. And that’s why they call me Galileo.

Thanks for reading. Look forward to Coldplay’s new album, Music of the Spheres, releasing in October this year. I hope you learned something, and that you’re as excited about it as I am. If you are, you may be the moon I’ve been pining for all along.

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Life is like a Freaking Videogame… But Without Any Save Points!

Pungry Industries has been fortunate to receive a small part of the script to an upcoming Netflix special by internet celebrity “Johnny Junkland”. Junkland credits this blog with his sense of humor that led him to 10 million Youtube subscribers. Below is the excerpt from the special titled “Life Is Like A Freaking Videogame”, published in full with his blessing.

Folks, I noticed that I accidentally shrunk my nicest pants in the dryer the other day, so I had to go and get some new pants because I’m going to a wedding in August. Now, to get pants, where does one go? Well, if life was anything like a videogame, you’d go to the armor store to get some new dang pants! Am I right? *Pause for laughter* But seriously folks, I was thinking this to myself as I walked over to the Pants Store, your one-stop-shop-for-slacks, that life is like a freaking videogame.

Now, now, now, hear me out. I know there are some slight differences between life and videogames. For one, if life was a videogame, you better believe I’d spent more time on my created character! I mean, have you seen my zits? Take a look at this epic fail over here, yiiiiikes! *Point to zits, wait for laughter*

The biggest difference between life and videogames, though? It ain’t the lack of armor stores. Nor is it your inability to choose your looks at birth. It’s the lack of freaking save points! You like that? You! Like! That! For those, erm, “normies” in the chat (*aside, whispered* that’s what we call newbs who don’t play videogames), a save point is a point that lets you save your progress you’ve made in your game. If real life had save points, you better believe that I’d have saved before drying my nicest jeans and shrinking them skinnier than Aaron Carter’s skinny jeans. What year is it? *buzzer, wait for laughter*

The real problem with real life having save points that would allow people to rewind time would be how everyone simultaneously would be trying to turn back time to the good ol’ days when momma sang us to sleep. Human society would never move forward a single second because someone would want to do over the previous second in which they either got stuffed in a locker, got rejected in their marriage proposal, or had a heated gamer moment while playing League and called someone a racial slur. Who can relate? *Wait for “woo” response from crowd, pause for laughter*

I really want to reiterate just how crazy an idea the save point is when applied to real life. Philosophers have spoken for eons about time travel and time traveler’s wives, but the save point is a slight wrinkle on the concept that doesn’t have a close analogue to any of the classic allegories. Like, think if the people in Plato’s cave had made a save point before walking out of there. Or think whether the Ship of Theseus is still the Ship of Theseus after you go back to a save point before all the parts were replaced. Or think about that time you said “Kefkaesque” instead of “Kafkaesque” in your English lit class, and the cute girl you liked in that class and was trying to impress hated Final Fantasy VI and never spoke to you again and you’d like nothing more than to quick load. Ouch, that’s gotta hurt! *Pause for laughter*

Point is, life may not have any save points, but maybe it’s better this way. Like I said, human society would not advance a single second into the future once the save point is invented. Because unlike a lot of fictional time travel plot devices, the save point can only take you back. You can’t pull a Chrono Trigger and go to the End of Time with a frog, a robot, and a mute swordsman to stop climate change when you use a save point. You can only go back. I guess, what I’m trying to say, is that life may be a freaking video game, but every decision you make is a point of no return, because there are no save points. And I’d really like it if you all stopped taking that for granted instead of thinking “I should conserve this Megalixer in case I need it later”. Because that’s just a theory. A game theory. And life… is the ultimate video game.

With the most realistic physics like pants that shrink in the dryer. Take a look at this epic fail over here, yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes! *Point at shrunk pants that you’ve been wearing all along*

This is where Johnny’s excerpt ends. Look forward to his special “Life is a Freaking Videogame” when it releases July 4th on the international gamer holiday. Pungry Industries accepts no credit for the terrible humor Junkland developed after reading our publications.

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Coldplay’s New Song Implies There’s A Higher Power Than Coldplay, Which Is Impossible

Coldplay’s new track “Higher Power” has Chris Martin singing “you’ve got a higher power” repeatedly for the chorus. And, frankly, that’s ridiculous. No one in the universe has a higher power than Coldplay. I bet if Vegeta scanned Chris Martin, his power level would not only be OVER NINE THOUSAND, but over ten thousand.

So it’s left to us to figure out who Chris Martin is talking about. The cop-out answer is that the speaker of the song isn’t Chris, but instead some normal dude like me talking about Coldplay having that higher power that has got me singing every second, dancing every hour. But, again, that’s a cop-out. I don’t want to consider death of the author when it’s Chris Martin who wrote this track.

It’s no secret Coldplay is religious. They’ve namedropped God a couple of times in their long careers. “God Put A Smile Upon Your Face” has God right in the name, but also A Head Full of Dreams’ track “Birds” had its music video filmed at Salvation Mountain in Colorado and Everyday Life had 8 “tracks” of a church bell ringing that spelled out “G O D = L O V E” in addition to the rest of the religious iconography (both Christian and Muslim, by the way) in the songs on there. Even in the song he claims to have ruled the world, Martin knows St. Peter won’t call his name, subtly revealing his piousness. God that sentence was awful.

So God is a pretty likely candidate as the higher power, considering the line “heavenly phone”. But the things Martin is compelled to do by this higher power are much more, uh, grounded than what people say about God. Like “I’m so happy that I’m alive at the same time as you” doesn’t make sense if the subject’s an immortal being like God. And, quite frankly, God does not make good music that would make Martin sing every second nor dance every hour.

Scanning through the outro lyrics makes me think this article was built on an incorrect premise–that Chris Martin would be singing about someone else. When I personally believe that the final piece of “When for so long I’d been down on my knees/Then your love song saved me over and over/For so long I’d been down on my knees/Till your love song floats me on” is actually about Coldplay, the band, saving Martin and millions like him. Coldplay’s talked a lot about God in the past, but they’ve played with the idea of floating (either like a bird, or with their feet off the ground) for far too long for this closing line of a love song floating Martin on not to be a deliberate reference to Coldplay.

And that is proof that Chris Martin does not in fact think there is a higher power than Coldplay. And he’s right.

I’m very much looking forward to this return to the Mylo Xyloto era. Coldplay in all forms is great.

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Nintendo Leaker Vindicated By Direct Mentioning “Mario”

Prominent Nintendo leaker “DecayDonkeyKong” gazed into his crystal ball, and correctly foretold that the beloved video game company would announce the name “Mario” during the most recent Nintendo Direct. In his now-deleted tweet (deleted in order to protect his sources, not because he got it wrong, of course) that reached over 100k likes and 50k retweets, “Decay the Leak-ey”, as he’s known, wrote “heard rumblings from my source that this next direct will probably mention Mario’s name, and maybe also Zelda’s”.

Decay was vindicated when the Nintendo Direct did exactly that, by mentioning Mario fifteen minutes into the twenty minute presentation of upcoming Switch games announced when the iconic character was said to be a playable character in Pikmin 5.

“Man, when the other games of Paper F-Zero, Chibi Robo Country Returns, Fire Emblem Golf, Super Smash Metroid Prime, and Star Fox Splatoon got announced before Pikmin 5, I was sweating bullets. I thought that my source had lied to me, just like when they lied a few years back about Super Mario Strikers 3 being a launch title for the Switch. So man it was a huge relief for me to have 500 Twitter notifications, and all of them were positive. Except the ones from the Sony bots tweeting at me for ‘Nintendoh’s creative bankruptcy’,” said Decay.

Decay hopes to parlay his 100% accurate Twitter leaks into a v-tubing career.

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Let’s Talk About The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning

I love Spyro the Dragon. Heck, I’m even wearing a shirt with him on it as I write this. But like most people I only love his first three games, and then kinda love a few others (A Hero’s Tail, Season of Flame). I was really fortunate to avoid the curse of Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, a game that single-handedly destroyed the Spyro franchise, but I wasn’t lucky enough to avoid the hype I had for The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning.

See, if you don’t know, Spyro’s games are mostly platformer collect-a-thons where you’re tasked with exploring levels and, well, collecting things. The first three games on the PS1 were all great games made by Insomniac Games when they were figuring out who they were as a small game dev studio. The third one, Year of the Dragon, was something I reviewed on here over ten years ago, and what I called the greatest game of all-time.

Enter the Dragonfly was the first Spyro game for the next generation of game consoles after the PS1. It was pretty well-hyped, and, uh, it was terrible. A glitchy, unfinished mess of a game that sold super well because it was released as the game of the holiday season. Spyro fans are fortunate that Spyro never was that popular, otherwise this disaster would be remembered as fondly as Sonic ’06. Anyway, without getting into it, that game ruined Spyro’s reputation. Though A Hero’s Tail was more than competent, and I spent 4000+ words calling it a good game that could be the future of the franchise in a post that I’ve hidden, the holders of the Spyro license decided that Spyro needed a makeover.

Vivendi Games, who later merged with Activision, decided to do that makeover. Everything changed. The gameplay, the atmosphere, and especially the canon. Spyro had 10 games in the same “universe”. Spyro the Dragon, Ripto’s Rage, Year of the Dragon, Enter the Dragonfly, A Hero’s Tail, Season of Ice, Season of Flame, Attack of the Rhynocs, Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy, and, the most obscure and weird Spyro game out there that I want to one day play and discuss, Spyro: Shadow Legacy, all took place in the same universe. A New Beginning does exactly what the title suggests and makes its own canon.

The setup to A New Beginning is that Spyro is the purple dragon of legend that is born every ten generations that will decide the fate of the Dragon Realms. Before he hatches from his egg, forces under the guidance of the “Dark Master” ransack the temple in which all eggs are kept, and steal as many dragon eggs as they can. One of the only dragon elders to survive, Ignitus, voiced by freaking Gary Oldman, manages to float Spyro’s egg down a river to safety, and puts his faith in Spyro’s survival. Yes, it is basically Jesus’ or Momotaro’s story, but now a dragon.

Anyway, Spyro is found, hatched, named, and raised by a family of dragonflies. He’s brought up to be Sparx’s brother. Sparx, by the way, is voiced by David Spade of all people. Oh, and did I forget to mention that Spyro is voiced by Elijah Wood, aka Frodo? I think the entirety of the game’s budget went to the voice actors, to be honest. It is remarkable that Wood and Oldman stuck around all three games, and just as remarkable they had to replace Sparx’s voice actor in each game. There’s other voice talent here delivering very cliche lines about “the prophecies of the dragons” and “you must banish the darkness” or whatever dialogue they ripped off from Kingdom Hearts for that scenario, but the Elijah Wood pull is telling. The makers of the Legend of Spyro thought they were making the new Lord of the Rings. They aimed for this so hard that they even had a handshake deal to get a movie of the trilogy made and have Peter Jackson direct it. It was supposed to come out Christmas Day, 2008, and was very quietly scrapped when Vivendi Universal saw their ROI for the games. I would’ve seen it opening day, and cried, and we’ll talk about why, later.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the start of the trilogy. In the first cutscene with Spyro, Sparx’s parents break the news to him that he isn’t a dragonfly, but a dragon. Which is funny, but, to be fair, Spyro grew up believing these were his natural parents despite how ridiculous that would be. David Spade, I mean, Sparx, tries to make it a joke, but it comes off very mean-spirited. This is a guy who thought he was your blood brother, and you’re gonna make a joke about how you knew he wasn’t your brother because of the weight difference? Smh.

I don’t really remember exactly what happens, but I think Sparx’s parents tell Spyro that there was some note with his egg that told them Spyro has some prophecy to fulfill by going to the Dragon Temple, so Sparx and Spyro set off to do just that. I’m not going to go on a blow-by-blow recounting of the games because I don’t think they’re worth it. But this is your first major gameplay section of The New Beginning, and we can finally discuss why this series sucks.

The focus on the gameplay in The New Beginning is combat. Now, this is not a bad idea on the surface. Spyro is a dragon. Controlling a dragon to kill things sounds really fun! However, the original Spyro games kept the combat to a minimum, with only having boss fights pose any real threat as far as combat went. Part of that was Spyro’s combat moveset in nine of the ten games was very limited to just breathing fire in a short radius, charging into dudes with his horns, and doing a backflip and creating a shockwave on the ground. That last one wasn’t very practical. Point is, enemies in Spyro games were really minor obstacles that were there just to add some variety to levels that would’ve been empty otherwise. Instead, the games focused on level and minigame design to keep things fresh.

The New Beginning, like I said, chose the opposite approach. Oh, there’s a minigame (that kinda sucks), but other than that it’s all combat and no level design. At the very least, the environments aren’t literal corridors like some terrible action games and actually are kind of pretty, but they are extremely linear. I don’t think there’s anything to collect in the first two games which is a sin for a Spyro game.

And the combat itself is really bad. At least in The New Beginning, the best way to beat every fight is to combo into your air juggle and then slam them back down. This is cool the first 15 times you do it, then gets really tedious. And there’s no new moves to learn through the game. There ARE new elemental breaths, as Spyro learns how to spit fire, ice, electricity, and, my favorite, “earth”. The earth breath is some weird beam that unearths boulders from the ground that hurt the enemy and it’s very funny. The breaths are a neat thing, I suppose, but are heavily restricted by the fact that they do very little damage, can only be used for a short time because they’re limited by a shared resource, and that resource regenerates extremely slowly. I get that they couldn’t let you burn enemies to death since it’d take away the rhythm of combat, but it sucks. Also, Spyro doesn’t have a dodge move, so you’re just trying to stun the enemies before they stun you. It’s really poor combat. Again, we’ll talk about the third game in the series when we get there, but The New Beginning and The Eternal Night both share this awful sin of tedious combat.

I mentioned earlier the levels are linear. Not true all the time. I’ve never beat The New Beginning because the third world is set in a jungle, and there’s a section where you have to walk through some trees after defeating a really annoying miniboss that throws dynamite at you, and I never found the exit. I only know what happens in this series because I’ve watched a playthrough of each game on YouTube. Now, you might say this disqualifies me from talking about these games, but I’d say that watching the 6 combined hours of cutscenes from these three games is what qualifies me to talk about them. Because the focus of this series is to be cinematic rather than to be good video games.

And I think this is why I was so disappointed in the Legend of Spyro games. I wanted a new Spyro game, not a trilogy of Lord of the Rings-knockoff movies. I love some stories in video games, but only when I’m expecting that as the main focus or when they’re nice seasoning to a fully-fleshed out game. Ghost Trick is a great example of a game that makes the story its focus, and tells a beautiful story (while also being a pretty fun puzzle game!). Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology ties its story to its gameplay hook of rewinding time, and is also great. Zero Time Dilemma is an absolute mess of a game as a game, but I came to it expecting a story rather than a game. Mario Super Sluggers, of all games, came with a “story mode” that I greatly enjoyed and didn’t expect, but it also had an extremely fun baseball game at its core, so I was fine with it.

The Legend of Spyro (or The New Beginning, who cares) makes story its focus, and does a horrendous job telling that story during the first two games. A New Beginning has all of its importance at the start, really. Spyro is sent on his quest to see four dragon sages after meeting with Gary Oldman’s Dragon in order to fulfill the prophecy as the purple dragon who changes the world’s fate. And, so he does. There’s minor and major obstacles on the way, but nothing earth-shattering happens at all until the final boss when you fight Cynder, the dark dragon who is the pawn of the Dark Master. Spyro beats her, frees her from the Dark Master, and she becomes Spyro-sized because she was one of the dragons captured on the raid that was supposed to get Spyro’s egg. I don’t remember if her being a black dragon made her more suited to being the Dark Master’s disciple. I will say that it’s very strange that Cynder goes on to be a good guy after this. Considering that she’s been “evil” ever since she hatched from her egg, her sudden face turn (to use a pro wrestling term) seems nearly impossible! It’s not like the good guys even did anything good to her! You beat her up in the one direct interaction you have with her before she decides “okay, guess I’m good now”! This isn’t how you solve bullying, either, for those taking notes.

The good news is that Cynder does question herself at the start of the second game. She leaves Spyro and the Dragon Temple (which is where Spyro hangs out between games in order to learn how he can save the world I guess) to find her place in the world. If you thought the midgame of A New Beginning was filler, ooh boy you should not be excited for The Eternal Night. After Cynder leaves, the temple gets attacked by apes under the supervision of Gaul, the next puppet of the Dark Master. Spyro is urged to find a tree that he saw in his dreams and then he simultaneously goes looking for a dragon that also appeared in his dreams. This is not compelling motivation, writers. In his hazy search, he finds the tree, which hilariously turns out to be an evil tree that Spyro then defeats but manages to get captured by airship pirates in the aftermath. Really dumb.

The pirates for god knows what reason have a gladiatorial combat arena that Cynder also got forced into. They of course force them to fight. I really want to stress how stupid this setup is: Spyro found a tree he saw in his dreams, the tree was evil, he beat the tree, got captured by airship pirates WHO RUN A GLADIATORIAL COMBAT ARENA DURING THE END OF THE WORLD, and then has to fight Cynder of all people in the arena. This is so dumb.

And it doesn’t stop! Spyro makes it out of the combat arena because the evil apes attack the airship they’re on to take Cynder back and use her in some elaborate ceremony to cause the Eternal Night at the Well of Souls which will bring back the Dark Master. Some great writing there, guys. On par with Eragon. Spyro just so happens to find that dragon from his dreams and, thankfully, he doesn’t turn out to be evil. Progress! This Chronicler asks Spyro to just let Cynder die and to learn dragon magic so he can combat the Dark Master (who was the first purple dragon), but Spyro goes anyway. Spyro makes it to Gaul and Cynder, who refuses to turn to the dark side and attacks Gaul. Gaul, with all of his monkey magic, fights Spyro.

During the fight, the lunar alignment happens, and, I quote, “the evil energy it generates is channeled through Spyro, which turns him into his dark self”. Dark Spyro! He lives up to his name by immediately using his new power to turn Gaul into stone, and then shatter that stone into a million pieces. Now THAT is edgy. Dark Spyro decides to get even more power from the lunar alignment, but Cynder pushes him out of the path of the beam so he is saved from total corruption. That said, the Well of Souls starts crumbling, and Spyro decides the best thing to do is use that stone power to encase himself, Sparx, and Cynder in protective stone and wait out, uh, some amount of time until it’s safe. A couple of things: 1. Yes, this is a ripoff of Avatar. 2. I really gotta know how Spyro figured out the exact length of time to coat himself in amber.

Anyway, that’s how The Eternal Night ends. I get the feeling that the developers made the environments first and then really quickly tried to tie a story together, because this was an absolute mess from start to right before the credits song. It sucks. The credits song is the only thing worth salvaging:

Dawn of the Dragon came out during the 10 year anniversary of the Spyro franchise. It is the third game in the New Beginning trilogy, and it is by far the best in terms of gameplay and story. Only three years passed since Spyro trapped himself and Cynder and Sparx (who managed to get a new voice since being trapped in stone), but the world has changed. The writer of the Wikipedia plot summary really wants you to know that, with those three years passing, Spyro and Cynder are now teenagers. I don’t know how much growth you can have, emotionally or physically, while trapped in rock, but I guess by literal years that’s true. Thanks.

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Blue Coins in Your Apartment Super Mario Sunshine Guide

Super Mario Sunshine is a great game, but it can be difficult to find all 240 blue coins to 100% it. Especially when you thought you collected all of the ones in a certain act, but actually missed some. That’s why I’ve written this checklist to finding all 30 blue coins located in Your Apartment.

Available in all episodes (except episode 2):

-Spray between the cushions on the main sofa. It’ll reveal a blue coin and some old food crumbs.

-Hidden in the lampshade over in the corner of the main room.

-In the back of the fridge behind the three-week old lentil soup (cover Mario’s nose with the helmet before trying to reach).

-Underneath the table you and your ex-girlfriend picked out and bought together but she left it when she moved out in a hurry and every time you place your beer on it you remember all the good times you guys had eating chips and dip while watching other people play Fortnite. Anyway, it’s not hidden once you’re under there.

-Spray down the abstract painting your parents are letting you borrow–it’s not of anything in specific, but the shapes and colors combine to give you a vague sense of dread. That one. Not the other one of a flower.

-Clean the grime off the stack of dishes and silverware in the sink that your roommate said they’d clean weeks ago and never did and it’s gross.

-Shoot the coin return button on the washer in the laundry room and laugh at the moron who put a blue coin in instead of actual yellow currency. What a dingus!

-Underneath one of the laundry piles on the floor is a red X. Clean off the red X, and a blue coin will appear where the other red X under the laundry pile on the bed. Rush over there with the turbo nozzle to retrieve it.

-The paired red X coin under the bed’s laundry pile with the above blue coin.

-Shoot down all the coat hangers. It won’t appear until every single one in your room has been shot down. Even the secret hidden coat hanger that you use for a towel holder in the bathroom because there’s no towel racks.

-Hidden on the inside of the pot holding the one houseplant you tried to keep but still managed to kill despite watering it and giving it plenty of sunlight is a red M. Spray it off to receive a blue coin.

-If you spray the cover of your coffee table book titled “Architecture in the Early 80s” that you’ve never opened and no one has ever been impressed with, the cover will lift, and a blue coin will appear.

-Place a banana from the counter in the coffee grinder, and a blue coin will pop out.

-Spray the unnecessary corner in the hallway that has literally no purpose. A small niche will open in the wall, and a blue coin will be inside it.

-Spray the light fixture in your bedroom. Short-circuiting it will cause a blue coin to appear, and actually fix the weird 1970s “future-forward” design.

-Hose down the water cooler/heating unit(?) in your kitchen that is a tripping hazard. Doing so will knock off the grate. Climb inside a bit (but not too far to go into Episode 6’s The Kitchen’s Secret area!), take a right, and walk until you reach the coin.

-Wall jump up the decorative chimney after dousing out the electronic fire. A blue coin awaits at the top.

-Spray the mirror that is fixed to your wall in a spot that no light can actually hit it, rendering it impossible to use as a mirror. A blue shine sprite will start to appear. Keep spraying the mirror until the shine sprite is fully painted, and a blue coin will come out.

-Spray your clothing rack of branded shirts from every crappy job you’ve worked at but never had the heart to donate. Even the one covered in pizza dust that gets all your shirts dirty. A blue coin will appear if you hit the center of the clothing rack.

-Use Yoshi to spray the shower head off its fixture. A bunch of bees will come out of the shower head. Eat them all, and the last one will be a blue coin.

-Spray the rack of obscure medieval weapons hanging on your bedroom wall that you accidentally ordered during late-night drunk eBay browsing that scares everyone that comes into your bedroom because seriously you couldn’t find a storage facility for this and you try to justify it as burglar protection but it’s likely that a burglar will get a weapon before you do and man you really should get rid of this stuff by selling it to another drunk dude on eBay. Hit the polearm’s head to receive the blue coin.

-Spray your old laptop that you only use as a “second” monitor to watch TV while doing important stuff on your other laptop. Spray it until it blows up in smoke (don’t worry, it’ll respawn with no damage the next time you warp in). You’ll get a regular coin, but it’ll feel good. The blue coin is right behind the laptop, hidden by the camera.

-It’s literally right behind the main door that opens when you enter the level. The main door that can’t properly close and makes you cold during the winter.

-In episode 3, there’s a Pianta on fire running around your kitchen. Why haven’t you put him out? Dude? Hello? You’re really just gonna let a Pianta burn to death in your kitchen? Not cool, bro. Spray the fire out and he’ll give you a blue coin.

-Pet your cat (when she isn’t hiding, which is only episode 3) to earn a blue coin.

-Spray the blue bird that is flying around the living room in episode 4 three times and it’ll transform into a blue coin. Don’t think too hard about how that bird got in there, or how water turns it into a blue coin.

-Snuff out the incense candle. But check out the flavor text on it first. What does it say? “L is Real 2041”? What on earth does that smell like? A blue coin will appear when the flame is gone.

-Dust off the guitar stored in the back of the closet area that you got as a gift from your uncle in high school and said you were gonna practice all the time and be the lead guitarist and vocalist for the next Coldplay but then never ended up playing it and every time you look at it you’re reminded of what you really am and it’s not like you to say sorry (that’s a nickelback reference) but you still feel like you let your high school self down but then again your high school self let himself down plenty of times considering what happened with you and Felicity but regardless if you spray the top string, bottom string, and middle string on this weird three-string fake guitar, a blue coin will pop out of the soundhole.

-In episode 8, talk to your landlord that’s been waiting for you to pay last month’s rent, and give him the ten coins you owe him for the month. If you do so, he’ll give you a blue coin as a going-away gift for paying on time every month. What a great landlord, even if he didn’t fix the plumbing in the seven years you lived there.

-Also in episode 8, while you take one last long look at your former home, spray the light just above the main entrance door that hasn’t worked since you moved in. A blue coin will pop out, completing the circuit, and the light will flick back on to wish you goodbye.

And there you have it. All 30 blue coins in Your Apartment in Super Mario Sunshine. Be sure to like and subscribe, and, if you’re feeling real generous, hit that bell for notifications whenever the next Gamer Compass comes out. Thanks for reading!

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Rationalizing Slay the Spire Relics

Slay the Spire is a “player-versus-enemy” roguelike card game. In it, a player is tasked with assembling a deck that can slay the titular spire. Along the way, the player can also receive items called relics that give the player further power. I’ll be honest: these relics are weird, and I have no idea how some of them actually give the various classes in Slay the Spire any power. That’s why I will go down the list of… gah, there’s 179 relics? Man. I really shouldn’t have been as inspired by Brian David Gilbert’s Unraveled when I started doing video game thinkpieces.

Slay the Spire has the player choose one of four characters at the start of their runs. Each character has their own unique set of cards and relics they have access to. Let’s start with the relics of the first character you unlock, the Ironclad. For each relic, I’ll give the name, then its effect, and then try to explain how that effect makes sense. I will not be looking at the Slay the Spire Wiki’s explanation of why it works, but I may have to look up some cultural stuff just to get my bearings.

Burning Blood (Heal 6 HP at the end of combat): When fighting, the Ironclad’s blood turns into fire, and fire being inside your internal organs is pretty bad. That’s why he feels so much better when combat ends, and he heals.

Black Blood (Heal 12 HP at the end of combat): This replaces burning blood, so the extra healing that the Ironclad receives from it is mostly due to relief that there is no longer any fire in his internal organs.

Mark of Pain (Gain 1 energy at the start of your turn. Shuffle 2 wounds into your deck): “I hurt myself today/to see if I could still feel”.

Charon’s Ashes (Whenever you exhaust a card, deal 3 damage to all enemies): Charon is the dude that ferried souls to the other side of the river Styx in Greek mythology. In Slay the Spire, that dude really existed, and he ferries cards over to the other side once they’ve died (exhausted). Doing so sprinkles his ashes over the battlefield, and your opponents inhale it and start coughing, taking 3 damage.

Magic Flower (Healing is 50% more effective during combat): Flowers are healing. This flower only blooms during combat, like the red poppies of World War I, so that’s why this only works in combat.

Champion Belt (Whenever you apply Vulnerable, also apply 1 Weak): The enemies in Slay the Spire are usually inhuman monsters and cultists. It makes sense they’d believe that a championship belt from professional wrestling would be a scary thing to see. Or they want the Ironclad’s autograph and that’s why they’re going to do less damage when it flashes.

Brimstone (At the start of your turn, gain 2 strength, and all enemies gain 1 strength): Fire and brimstone is some Bible thing about God’s wrath. Brimstone is symbolic of everyone’s wrath in Slay the Spire, but mostly my wrath that I see Byrds right after picking this treasure. Get excited to see this joke again in a few years.

Paper Phrog (Enemies with vulnerable take 75% more damage instead of 50%): Ironclad inserts this origami frog into whatever open wound the enemy has. Enough said.

Red Skull (While your HP is below 50%, gain 3 strength): There’s a lot of half-explanations for this one. Mine is that the Ironclad is a big fan of Yorick, and does some Shakespeare roleplay with the skull whenever he feels like he’s in a tight spot to get a boost.

Runic Cube (Whenever you lose HP, draw 1 card): This cube has runes on it that are indecipherable until some blood spills on it. The runes translate directly into cards. Somehow. Look, no one said my rationalizations had to make sense.

Self-Forming Clay (Whenever you lose HP in combat, gain 3 block next turn): Clay becomes hard when wet, so having a bunch of clay on your body as armor doesn’t really work out until that clay is wet. Which is why bleeding on said clay armor works, since blood is mostly water.

So those are the Ironclad’s unique relics. Onto the Silent’s!

Ring of the Snake (At the start of combat, draw 2 extra cards): Slay the Spire is a card game. You hold cards in your hands. What else is in your hands? That’s right: a ring. This ring fetches and holds two cards for you, but it takes alone time to set up, which is why it only works at the start of a fight.

Ring of the Serpent (At the start of your turn, draw 1 extra card): Haven’t these devs ever played Pokemon? Snakes evolve into cobras–sigh, whatever. This is an upgraded ring that is better at fetching at the cost of storage capacity, and the Silent gets too lazy to set it up to fetch more than one card.

Snecko Skull (Whenever you apply poison, apply 1 more): Poison is stored in the skull of most snakes. The Silent uses the skull to magnify any and all poisons she launches. The real question this raises is that there are simultaneously snakes, serpents, and “Sneckos” living at the same time in the Slay the Spire universe, and that’s unnerving.

Ninja Scroll (Start each combat with 3 Shivs): I’ll be real, I don’t think of ‘shivs’ when I think of ninjas. I like to think that this scroll is just wrapped around three shivs while having some stupid wisdom written on it like ‘the sharpest tool at your disposal is your intelligence’.

Paper Krane (Enemies with weak deal 40% less damage rather than 25%): Fly like paper/get high like kranes. This adorable looking, copyright-friendly “krane” makes it hard for any would-be attacker. What if they crush your krane? Can’t have that.

The Specimen (Whenever an enemy dies, transfer any Poison it has to another enemy): The head in the specimen’s jar doesn’t actually do anything. When an enemy dies, the Silent transfers the dead enemy’s blood, which contains poison, into the jar, then forces another enemy to drink the poisoned blood from the jar. Simple!

Tingsha (Whenever you discard a card, deal 3 damage to a random enemy for each card discarded): A tingsha is a bell that makes the classic “ting” chime. Some people use the sounds to start meditation, to clear the mind. Monsters already have a clear mind, so it’s more likely the sound annoys them to the point of being damaged.

Tough Bandages (Whenever you discard a card, gain 3 block for each card discarded): The bandages are shown to come in a long thread. This thread must be too tough to actually cut without using the sharp corner of a card, so that’s why it requires discarding the cards for use since the Silent flings any cards she discards straight at the thread.

Hovering Kite (When you first discard a card during your turn, gain 1 energy): First of all, just want to point out that they have to be specific and say this kite is hovering. You’re bad at using kites if yours doesn’t hover! Similar to tough bandages, Silent discarding a card cuts the string attached to the kite, thus propelling it in the air, and inspiring her with the majesty of a kite in flight. It only works once because Silent has to retrieve the kite from the ceiling every turn.

Wrist Blade (Attacks that cost 0 do 4 more damage): This is a simple one. Most attacks that cost 0 are small knives like shivs and small knives. The wrist blade lets Silent “double dip” her small stabs by literally stabbing the enemy with the tiny wrist blade while stabbing with her other blade. She just forgets that it’s there when she’s not attacking or using anything stronger.

Twisted Funnel (At the start of combat, each enemy receives 4 Poison): Silent convinces every enemy to chug from her keg via this twisted funnel. The keg is, of course, full of poison, so the enemies don’t get fooled by it again.

The Defect is a robot attempting to Slay the Spire. It has some interesting relics, to say the least.

Cracked Core (At the start of combat, channel 1 lightning): I interpret the Defect as innately having a cracked core, as it is a defective robot. This cracked core allows the inner lightning energy to spill out after the Defect has enough time to recharge between fights.

Data Disc (Start each combat with 1 Focus): The Defect must be a relic itself with its ability to read CDs!!! Am I right?!?!?!? Anyway, the CD just tells the Defect how to better use orbs by telling him to focus, which is something the original programmers ran out of room when programming him.

Emotion Chip (If you lost HP your previous turn, activate your orbs’ passive abilities at the start of your turn): You’d think the emotion chip would boost the emotions of the Defect, but this apparently boosts the sympathetic capabilities of the orbs around the Defect instead. Bizarre!

Frozen Core (If you end a turn with empty orb slots, channel 1 Frost): The Defect puts his heart in a refrigerator for this one. Which is bad for most creatures, but is perfectly reasonable for a robot. It transforms his electric discharges into ice blocks. Don’t ask me how the robot still runs.

Gold-Plated Cables (Your rightmost orb’s passive abilities trigger an additional time at the end of your turn): The Defect and its orbs are connected strangely. The way the Slay the Spire UI shows it, the Defect just has orbs floating around it with no specific connection to itself. Yet something like gold-plated cables imply that they are connected to it via cable. These gold-plated cables screw up and accidentally send two signals to the frontmost orb when used.

Inserter (Every two turns, gain an empty orb slot): This is just weird. The relic is called the inserter, but it’s closer to a hole puncher. It makes a new hole in the UI for an additional orb slot, how cute.

Nuclear Battery (At the start of combat, channel 1 Plasma): Self-explanatory. Nuclear power works by creating reactions that produce energy via plasma. Don’t ask me anything specific about that process.

Runic Capacitator (Start each combat with an additional 3 orb slots): Capacitators store energy. Orbs take energy. Bing bong. The real weird part of this is the runes imply that this thing was some sort of old-world, ancient piece of technology, when we all know that stuff like the pyramids were built by aliens, not with electricity.

Symbiotic Virus (At the start of combat, channel 1 Dark): If u think about it every piece of code is a virus and thus every line of code is a symbiotic virus. If you think about this relic, the virus symbiotically brings out the darkness in the Defect’s core and makes it manifest. Just like my symbiotic virus of my ex!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Watcher is a blind ascetic that has come to inspect the Spire while being blind. Just like me when I play this game.

Pure Water (Add 1 Miracle to your hand at the start of combat): Miracle is a card that gives you one energy. Milennials can relate to this since it’s a dang miracle they have the energy to ever get out of their mother’s basement with their avocado toast!!!

Damaru (At the start of your turn, gain 1 Mantra): A damaru is a drum that the goddess Shiva created in order to produce sounds that govern the universe. Mantra, in Slay the Spire, lets the Watcher enter Divinity stance after gaining 10 Mantra. This is very straightforward and I have no jokes other than I’d play the drum part from Life in Technicolor ii by Coldplay on one of these things because that is a divine drum part.

Duality (When you play an attack, gain 1 temporary dexterity): Attacking and defending are truly 2 sides of the same coin if u think about it. Really makes u think. If u think about it.

Teardrop Locket (Start each combat in Calm): See, I’d start each combat in Sad if I had a teardrop locket. Well, I’d start any combat in sad, even without it, because fighting makes me sad. I can only assume the Watcher feels very calm grasping this keepsake. Probably was a gift from her mom that she’s never let go.

Cloak Clasp (At the end of your turn, gain 1 Block for every card in your hand): Regardless of everything else, if the Watcher does not have this relic, she has to hold onto her cloak herself or it’ll fall off. I can only imagine that having this clasp helps her defend from attacks because she no longer has to hold onto her cloak with both hands to avoid a wardrobe malfunction.

Golden Eye (Whenever you scry, scry an additional 2 cards): A reference to 007 Goldeneye for the N64, a very popular FPS that led to a lot of kids scrying.

Holy Water (At the start of combat, add 3 Miracles to your hand): Holy water is assumed to cause miracles, of which every goddanged millenial needs 3 of: 1. a miracle to land a job 2. a miracle to buy a house instead of avocado toast 3. a miracle in order to save those poor ol’ mom and pop spires

Violet Lotus (Whenever you exit calm, gain 1 additional energy): The Watcher is British, and “seeing” any sort of reddish flower reminds her of the poppies of WWI, which energizes her to Keep a Stiff Upper Lip and Keep Up the Good Fight during The Blitz.

Melange (Whenever you shuffle your deck, scry 3): Melange is a verb meaning “to mix” so the shuffle part makes sense. Immediately getting to decide whether you want three cards from your deck after melanging doesn’t make that much sense. The art for this relic looks like a toupee so I choose to believe that every time the Watcher shuffles she just throws any and all of the three cards she didn’t like at the top of her deck inside this hairpiece.

Phew! That’s all 40 character-unique relics done. We’ve gotta be getting close to the end. Oh. There’s still 139 left. Well, let’s just go down in the same order the Slay the Spire Wiki page puts the relics, and begin with the common relics.

Akabeko (Your first attack does an additional 8 damage): Akabeko is a legendary cow from 807 CE Fukushima, Japan. This sacred cow gave its soul to the Buddha and immediately turned to stone, according to the legend. Some 700 years later, the leader of Japan heard the tale of this cow and told his artisans to make a toy based off it to indoctrinate kids towards loving Buddha or w/e. Anyway, there was a smallpox outbreak that same year, and people believed the toys protected them from smallpox. All of this is to say that this story of the still-traditional red cow toy in Japan is more interesting than any joke I have.

Anchor (Start each combat with 10 block): Ships use anchors to stop them from moving. Your character throws down this heavy thing at the start of a fight to make sure they don’t run past their enemy, and it provides a small bit of cover before doing its job.

Ancient Tea Set (After you enter a rest site, start your next combat with 2 extra energy): Drinking tea by a campfire/smithy/dig site/ruby key is relaxing, nothing mindblowing here. Just trying to think of the implications of this being an “ancient” tea set versus your store-bought brand.

Art of War (If you do not attack during your turn, start next turn with one extra energy): Instead of hitting your enemy with a sword or even this book, you decided to read and gained energy out of it? Man, the Slay the Spire heroes are nerds. Nothing like a random Sun Tzu quote to get hyped. “Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.” Oh heck yeah!!

Bag of Marbles (At the start of combat, apply 1 Vulnerable on all enemies): Oh, come on. How does something like a slime even trip on marbles? They don’t have legs! I think all monsters just get distracted by marbles when they see them and decide to pick them up instead of blocking themselves.

Bag of Preparation (At the start of combat, draw two additional cards): Self-explanatory, your character stores two cards in the bag between fights, but does raise questions about how big each card is if this knapsack can only carry two of them.

Blood Vial (At the start of combat, heal 2 HP): Gross. But, eh, worked for Soda Popinski to heal via drinks. Just would choose soda rather than blood.

Bronze Scales (Whenever you take damage, deal 3 damage back): You get three bronze scales, so each one does 1 HP of damage. I’m just impressed by your character’s ability to always make sure the enemy hits the scales, no matter what kind of attack they do. Like, how does the heart “touch” the scales during its 15 hit combo?

Centennial Puzzle (The first time you lose HP during a combat, draw 3 cards): Whenever your character has the relic, they purposely mess up the puzzle before a fight. Then, once in a fight, their opponent notices, and immediately tries to re-solve the puzzle, which has a reward of three cards. Very shrewd of your character. Too bad they still have to be hurt by well-meaning monsters to make it work.

Ceramic Fish (Whenever you add a card to your deck, gain 9 gold): The fish eats your card and poops out the card with nine gold as well, just like civet coffee.

Dream Catcher (Whenever you rest, you may add a card to your deck): Your Slay the Spire character is mid-climbing a giant tower filled with monsters when they take a nap, and they dream about cards? God they must be extremely boring people.

Happy Flower (Every three turns, gain 1 energy): Obvious Plants vs. Zombies reference aside, most plantowners go through a cycle of looking at a houseplant they own and feeling energized by it, then not so much the next few weeks, and then feel energized by it again soon after. If the plant lives that long, of course.

Juzu Bracelet (Regular enemy combats do not occur in ? rooms): Juzu bracelets or necklaces are standard Buddhist equipment for prayer, similar to rosary necklaces. In Slay the Spire, your character uses their bracelet to pray they never encounter that godawful pair of the Centurion and the Mystic.

Lantern (Gain 1 extra energy at the start of combat): The Spire is shown to be relatively well-lit, especially in fights, but who knows how well-lit the staircases are. Your character tries to keep it lit the entire fight, but rude monsters aim immediately at the lantern to put it out after the first turn, and knowing that energizes your character.

Maw Bank (Gain 12 gold each floor you climb until you spend gold at a shop): The premise of this relic makes no sense in a capitalistic real world. You only get more money to afford to buy things by… not buying things. I know interest is kind of like that, but, uh, come on. Anyway, the Maw Bank works by essentially making counterfeit coins that only work the first time a merchant sees them. After that, the merchant sends out a call to all the other merchants to be on the lookout for your fake money, and it stops working.

Meal Ticket (Help 15 HP whenever you enter a shop): Directly on the heels of merchants being “smart enough” to detect counterfeit money, we have a meal ticket that works at every shop. These guys don’t have a hole puncher to indicate that the ticket’s been used? Or take the ticket? What kind of bizarre ticket system are these morons using?

Nunchucks (Every time you play 10 attacks, gain 1 Energy): None of the characters are inherently proficient with nunchucks, and only have a 10% chance of using them correctly. When they do so, they get very hyped, and then immediately hit themselves in the genitals to reset their energy.

Oddly Smooth Stone (Start each combat with 1 dexterity): Dexterity is what helps you block attacks. Your character holds this tiny stone to block a tiny part of the attack. : )

Omamori (Negate the next 2 curses you obtain): An omamori is a Japanese amulet that fights off curses/vengeful spirits. Self-explanatory. Though this is a special charm that can fend off two separate curses–all the omamori I buy only work once and then I have to get another.

Orichalcum (If you end the turn with no block, gain 6 block): A legendary ore from Atlantis that literally every single game that even mentions the word “armor” is required by law to put in. The orichalcum in Slay the Spire is extremely possessive and doesn’t help if your character puts up any defense without it. How rude.

Pen Nib (Every 10th attack you play deals double damage): Your character is a cheapskate and refuses to buy a new pen because every once in a while this pen nib lets them write one character even though it is disconnected from any inkwell or ANYTHING that would let it write. Just pay the $2 for a 12 pack, man.

Potion Belt (Gain 2 empty potion slots): Self-explanatory. Makes me think of Batman rebranding and carrying a belt of potions instead of a belt of utility boomerangs. Maybe then the Joker would stop letting us know we live in a soceity.

Preserved Insect (Elites have 25% less HP): Out of every relic, I choose this for the most baffling. I can only think that a Slay the Spire developer is really scared of bugs and transferred that fear into their game-creating process. Cause, like, why is a Book of Stabbing afraid of a beetle trapped in goo? I also like the frame–makes the insect feel like its a painting.

Regal Pillow (Heal an extra 15 HP every time you rest): Though your character may attribute their better sleep due to the pillow, it’s actually due to the pea underneath the regal pillow that they are revitalized.

Smiling Mask (The merchants’ card removal service costs 50 gold): I really wonder what the deal is with the merchants. Why are they in the spire? Is it the same guy? Who else do they sell to? And why does he sell a bomb? Whatever. The Smiling Mask obviously makes him trust that you’re a part of his network so he gives you a discount on removing stuff from your deck. Personally, I would think that you would gain money for giving a dude who sells cards your cards, but I clearly don’t understand the wack society of Slay the Spire.

Strawberry (Raise your max HP by 7): Powerful antioxidants for just one strawberry to give you 7 HP. If this worked in real life, I would’ve been stronger than ever after eating 30 strawberries in one sitting, rather than throwing up.

The Boot (Whenever you deal 4 or less unblocked attack damage, deal 5 instead): And to my drunken brother, the Sentry, I bequeath a boot to the head. The boot always does 5 damage, and is always thrown when your character feels their attack wasn’t up to par.

Tiny Chest (Every 4th ? room you enter will be a treasure room): Miniature versions of things attract the larger-sized thing. That’s why you use mini fish as lures when fishing, or carry around waifu figures when you’re trying to get a girlfriend. It just works.

Toy Ornithopter (Drinking a potion heals 5 HP): An ornithopter is a machine that flies by flapping wings. As it is like a bird in form, your character forces the ornithopter to feed potions to your character like how a mother bird feeds her chicks. This has healing properties.

Vajra (At the start of combat, gain 1 strength): A vajra is a ritual weapon. As such, it offers mild use as a thing to hit people with, but isn’t actually that good as a weapon because it is meant for ceremonial use. That’s why you only get one strength.

War Paint (Upon pickup, upgrade 2 random skills): As soon as your character picks up the war paint, they immediately spill it by accident on their deck, and it seeps into the two random skills. Since Slay the Spire works on Paper Mario: Color Splash rules, the added color upgrades those skills.

Whetstone (Upon pickup, upgrade 2 random attacks): Most attacks in Slay the Spire involve your character hitting the monster with a sharp object, so the whetstone randomly upgrading one of those makes sense. It does not make sense when the whetstone upgrades an attack your character tried to sharpen with the whetstone on a lark, like the book used for Lesson Learned or the bolts from god used in Ragnarok.

Phew. That’s all the common relics over and rationalized! Let’s mansplain the uncommons.

Blue Candle (You can now play curse cards. When you play one, lose 1 HP, and exhaust the curse): I knew that color theory existed, and that there’s a flower language, but I did not expect that candles had their own language as well when I casually typed “blue candle meaning”. I suppose I’m not the brightest candle in the shed. A blue candle is lit to strengthen a candelers (no idea what candle people call themselves; candaliers? candleheads? can-dulls? gottem) confidence. Curses, in Slay the Spire, are cards that bring negative effects, so it definitely instills confidence to get rid of them. All that said, your character uses the character to literally burn the curse card but takes damage from the smoke released.

Bottled Flame (Choose an attack card from your deck. Always start combat with it in your hand): The flame doesn’t do anything–your character immediately puts it out and just puts the card in the empty jar. I promise to not recycle this joke like how your character recycles the bottle.

Bottled Lightning (Choose a skill card from your deck. Always start combat with it in your hand): Athletes get the nickname “bottled lightning” for being really explosive in their abilities. Most skills in Slay the Spire involve some sort of athleticism, like the Silent’s skill of “Acrobatics”. Therefore, your character literally uses metaphorical athleticism from this jar to consistently perform a skill.

Bottled Tornado (Choose a power card from your deck. Always start combat with it in your hand): Oh, come on. One of my favorite “science experiments” as a youth was where we stacked two large soda bottles on top of each other, put some liquid in it, and then shook the thing to make a cyclone. I’m not sure what the heck it proved, but kid-me certainly felt like I had power so uh there you go.

Darkstone Periapt (Whenever you obtain a curse, increase your max HP by 6): Alright, I didn’t expect “periapt” to be the word that passed spellcheck. A periapt is just another word for amulet which makes me think the Slay the Spire devs just used a thesaurus on this one. The fact that this charm is made of darkstone is what allows it to take a curse like “normality” (which is my mother’s least favorite curse) and converts it into vitality. Of course, the curse card still stays in your deck, but, details.

Frozen Egg (Whenever you add a power to your deck, upgrade it): Fridges have a lot more power in the Slay the Spire universe than in real life. Or maybe powers are dishes better served cold. Or maybe every power you take is “hatched” by this frozen egg. There’s a lot of half-baked ideas on what the heck this dumb thing does and none of them are satisfactory. Just like my ex!!!!

Gremlin Horn (Whenever an enemy dies, gain 1 energy and draw 1 card): The gremlin horn is part of a monster that has been cut off. Therefore, whenever your character cuts down another monster, this horn empathizes with that dead monster, and transmits its empathy as energy and as a card to your character. Kind of like the bridge babies in Death Stranding. Don’t ask.

Horn Cleat (Start your 2nd turn of each combat with 14 block): A cleat is a nautical device for securing a rope. It’s those things you see on docks that jut out of the ground that you’ve never been sure what they’re there for. A boat latches onto your cleat during the 2nd turn of every combat and is used to partially block anything coming at you.

Ink Bottle (Whenever you play 10 cards, draw 1 card): Every time you play a card, a little bit of ink rubs off, and is collected in this ink bottle. Enough ink is collected after ten cards to “draw” a new card, as in the act of producing a picture of a card. Yeah, this one’s a stretch.

Kunai (Whenever you play 3 attacks in a turn, gain 1 dexterity): People who watched Naruto think of kunai as weapons, but they’re actually multi-purpose farming tools similar to trowels in origin. Now, clearly, the Slay the Spire devs watched Naruto because you get a buff from the kunai when you attack, but I believe that your character tries to hold the kunai while attacking and doing so takes a lot of dexterity.

Letter Opener (Whenever you play 3 skills in a turn, deal 5 damage to all enemies): I’d be really annoyed if I had to fulfill a condition like this to use a letter opener. Not that I get much mail, but think about the effort that’s required to use something that you can replace with your dang fingers. Of course, I am literally the worst mail opener so, maybe it’d still be worth it. Uh, I hope I distracted you long enough. No? Alright, well, enemies get really curious about what you’re up to whenever you use three skills instead of directly attacking them and thus crowd around you, so your character ends up using the letter opener to stab them all.

Matryoshka (The next two non-boss chests you open will contain 2 relics): Matryoshka dolls are those dolls that contain dolls within dolls. I can only assume the game hardcodes that one of the relics you get from a chest after getting the Matryoshka relic is the Tiny Chest.

Meat on the Bone (Whenever you finish a fight below 50% HP, heal 12 HP): It’s your meat on the bone, so if you have above 50% HP, there isn’t enough meat there to satisfy your character.

Mercury Hourglass (At the start of your turn, deal 3 damage to all enemies): Mercury is extremely toxic, but enemies don’t know that. So your character opens up the hourglass right by them before the fight starts, and the mercury fumes slowly poison them over time.

Molten Egg (Whenever you add an attack to your deck, upgrade it): As said earlier, most attacks in this game involve some sort of sharp object. When you forge sharp objects, you need to melt metal down to re-smith it into something sharper. This molten egg contains hot enough heat for your character to forge the stabby equipment into something better as soon as they get it.

Mummified Hand (Whenever you play a power card, a random card in your hand will cost 0 this turn): Slay the Spire’s fights look like simple “fight until one side dies” affairs, but the mummified hand indicates that there is a neutral judge that oversees the fight. Ya see, your character has a lot of restrictions, such as energy and stuff, that prevent them from immediately wiping out the enemies. The judge’s job is to determine if the character has the energy to play cards among other things. Your character uses this mummified hand to play the power cards, and the judge, not really paying attention, deems that the energy penalty for playing a card shouldn’t have been enforced, so he gives you a free card to make up for it. This happens multiple times a combat/run.

Ornamental Fan (Every time you play 3 attacks in a turn, gain 4 block): Every three attacks, your character unfolds one, uh, “row” of said fan, which provides the slightest bit of protection. The enemies quickly refurl the fan lest they get too distracted.

Phantograph (Heal 25 HP at the start of boss combats): A phantograph is not a band. It is a tool that links two writing utensils together and thus makes each writing utensil mirror the other. I’m going to be real. This is the second-most baffling relic in the game as far as connection between what it is and what it does goes. Like, I guess your character draws something using the Phantograph in front of the boss, and they’re so impressed they give you 25 HP.

Pear (Raise your max HP by 10): The Slay the Spire devs have put fruit into tiers of nutrition, and pears trump strawberries in their minds. Which makes sense. I would hope one pear has more nutrition than one strawberry. Pears are far larger. Get into a debate about the best fruits in the comments, thanks.

Question Card (Future card rewards will contain 1 extra choice): At the end of every fight, you can add a card to your deck. I assume that the thing that’s giving you the choice is a magician asking your character to “pick a card, any card”. Having the question card means that your character gives this wild card to the magician before every “trick”. The magician probably gets fed up having you pick the cards and then never giving them back, but it doesn’t happen on screen, at least.

Shuriken (Every time you play 3 attacks in one turn, gain 1 strength): Unlike kunai, shuriken have always been used for fighting. That’s why it makes sense that your character gets better at fighting when using the shuriken. It takes three in a turn to prove your worth to the shuriken and gain its strength.

Singing Bowl (Whenever you have the choice to add a card to your deck, you may gain 2 max HP instead): As terrifying as a sentient bowl that sings sounds, this is yet another item used by monks to meditate. Meditation makes one “healthier” so deciding to meditate after battle rather than deal with the magician grants vitality.

Strike Dummy (Cards containing Strike deal 3 additional damage): It’s called Strike Dummy because you’re a dummy to have Strike cards in your deck!!!!! Boxers can tell you that the “fist dummies” they beat up make their fists stronger, so the strike dummy fulfills its role the same way.

Sundial (Every 3 times you shuffle your deck, gain 2 energy): Outside of this relic, there is no indication the sun exists in the Slay the Spire mythos. I choose to interpret the gaining of energy to be akin to sleeping. So if sleeping is an 8 hour activity, and it takes 3 shuffles to get a full rest cycle, one day in Slay the Spire is equal to 9 shuffles of the deck. Make of that what you will.

The Courier (The merchant restocks all items once bought. All items cost 20% less): Did you know there were two separate films both titled “The Courier” released last decade? Man, we sold out in the 2010s. And no longer will the Merchant sell out thanks to this weirdo, plague-ridden rat that you’ve decided to take into a shop that I assume fetches all the items for restocking. The Merchant gives you the discount because he wants you to spread the black plague.

Toxic Egg (Whenever you add a skill to your deck, upgrade it): The other eggs, I can understand. This one? Not really. Putting something toxic on your skills, which are usually things that help you defend, sounds far more harmful than helpful! My best guess is that the devs really like Britney Spears and thought “toxic” was a pure love romantic kind of song because the taste of the poison helps her feel alright.

White Beast Statue (All combat rewards will contain a potion): Looks like a wooly mammoth, which are old and extinct things. Witches brew potions, and witches are old and extinct things. Thus I deem that this makes sense, as the white beast statue itself brews the potion during your fight. It’s a weird-looking coffee maker, basically.

And those are all the uncommons. Onto the rare relics! Fortunately, there are no super rares, ghost rares, holofoil rares, ultimate rares, secret rares, ultra secret rares, secret ultra rares, prismatic secret rares, or parallel rares.

Bird-Faced Urn (Whenever you play a Power, heal 2 HP): Birds have mystical healing properties. And, of course, so do urns. But they can only have their powers unlocked if you use a power yourself… Thus you heal 2 HP, one from the bird, one from the urn.

Calipers (At the start of your turn, lose 15 block rather than all your block): A caliper is a device that measures the dimension of an object. With it, your character is able to measure out exactly 15 block from their block, which is a literal block. See, at the end of every turn, the block goes away because it is the “toll” to start the next turn for your character. This toll is either all your block, or your block in a weird shape, and using the calipers allows your character to cut the block into that weird shape.

Captain’s Wheel (At the start of your 3rd turn, gain 18 block): The moron driving a ship in a tower manages to survive three turns before crashing in front of the enemies, thus saving your character from damage.

Dead Branch (Whenever you exhaust a card, add a random card to your hand): I believe this is actually a mis-identified nursery log. A nursery log is a dead log that allows other plants to grow on it as it decomposes and is vital to ecosystems. Exhausting a card is the same as decomposing, so as a card decomposes another card sprouts from the dead branch as the circle of life continues.

Du-Vu Doll (For each curse in your deck, gain 1 strength): I assume Voodoo was copyrighted by the ska band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Alternatively, voodoo dolls are usually used to inflict curses on other people, so a Du-Vu Doll may instead take curses inflicted upon you and grant you power. That makes sense.

Fossilized Helix (Prevent the first time you’d lose HP in a fight): You can either use this relic as-is or trade it on Cinnabar Island for an Omanyte. Personally, I like the utility this relic offers more than Omanyte. Each time you start a fight, your character uses this as a shield, but it immediately falls into pieces. Your character starts crying over it breaking and it stops the enemy from continuing to hurt you for a short time. Your character then patches it up for the next fight.

Gambling Chip (At the start of combat, discard any number of cards, then draw that many): “King me, I just hit blackjack” – Your character, after using the gambling chip to discard five strikes. I like to think your character just claims that this chip gives him the ability to do this once per fight like they’re a ten year old kid “fighting” at recess.

Ginger (You can no longer be weakened): Ginger is an invigorating herb that tastes great. It brings the heat that lets your character stay warm even when enemies try to weaken you with bad spices like, idk, cloves? Most spices are good.

Girya (You can now gain strength at rest sites): AKA a kettlebell, but that’s trademarked, like kleenex or google, so girya is what we got instead. I don’t actually think kettlebells do anything for strength–I haven’t gotten stronger since leaving mine in a corner, collecting dust, for the past seven months.

Ice Cream (Energy is now conserved between turns): Energy manifests in Slay the Spire as balls. The ice cream relic is shown to be a bunch of balls of ice cream stacked on one another. Your character takes inspiration from ice cream and stacks the balls of energy on top of each other on a cone, and then eats the cone in order to get that energy.

Incense Burner (Every 6 turns, gain 1 Intangible): Incense is an aromatic, uh, thing that you, uh, burn to release, uh, nice smells. While your character is hanging around during fights, nice mellow smells permeate the air and eventually get your character high enough to feel literally intangible. It is such a strong feeling that it works.

Lizard Tail (The first time you lose all HP, heal 50% of your HP): Lizards cut off their own tail if they need to run away from a fight and think they’ll die. Your character understands the second part of that, but not the first, since they refuse to run, even if they use the lizard tail. I assume they throw it like a bone to a dog, distract the enemy for a bit, recover, and then the enemy comes back frustrated that it got tricked.

Mango (Raise your max HP by 14): As you can see, the Slay the Spire devs think that mangoes are the healthiest fruit. You decide in the comments if that’s true. Twice as healthy as a strawberry? Maybe.

Old Coin (Gain 300 coins): Yeah, yeah, yeah, your character sells the old coin to a merchant to get those 300 coins, but I like to think that your character chips off fractions of the old coin to let them pay exact change to the merchant. Like if a card costs 89 gold, your character cuts off 89/300 or 29.67% of the coin and gives it to them for payment.

Peace Pipe (You can now remove a card at rest sites): Slay the Spire is rated E10+ for this relic, which glorifies smoking as a weight-loss utensil. It’s up to you to decide what your character is smoking, and how much the robot gets out of doing so in terms of experience.

Pocketwatch (Whenever you play 3 or fewer cards in a turn, draw 3 additional cards next turn): This watch thinks you’re running late if you only play three cards or fewer, so it hustles in order to get you back on track. If you do play four or more, the watch is pleased, and weirdly enough doesn’t help you out. The world would be a better place if people helped people even when people were doing good.

Prayer Wheel (Enemies drop an additional card reward): A prayer wheel is a wheel of cotton or other material that wraps around a “life tree”. On this cotton/material is written a mantra. In Slay the Spire, there is instead cards written on the material for your character to choose between. Because your character prays to the heart of the cards, the wheel answers.

Shovel (You can now dig for relics at rest sites): Man, the tower your character climbs would be an archaeologists’ dream if every single spot a campfire was made could contain a relic. Of course, all four characters are actually archaeologists, so they all love this treasure. I do wonder about the logistics of this tower in that: 1. who would bury relics in these spots? And 2. how is there enough dirt/soil/whatever to actually bury anything in?

Stone Calendar (At the end of turn 7, deal 52 damage to all enemies): 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year in the Gregorian calendar. No, this isn’t an oblique Mayan calendar reference. It’s a reference to real life. But it does imply that Slay the Spire is set long enough after early human civilization since this calendar is carved onto stone, which is something only old masons and hipsters would do. Gah. I bet it was a hipster. I hate hipsters almost as much as millenials which calendars also remind me of!!!!

Thread and Needle (At the start of combat, gain 4 plated armor): Your character knits a small scarf in between each fight with the thread and needle that offers moderate defense. Very cute.

Torii (Whenever you would receive 5 or less attack damage, reduce it to 1): A torii is the gateway to a Shinto shrine. It marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred, which, thanks Wikipedia–I know how sacred you are. If an attacker notices they’re only doing 5 or less damage to your character, they understand that they are mundane, and, out of respect for the sacred torii, choose to soften their blow. How kind.

Tungsten Rod (Whenever you lose HP, lose 1 less): Tungsten rods are usually used during welding to protect the thing that’s getting welded from atmospheric contamination. Your character uses this rod to protect itself in a completely different way, though. Your character simply holds the rod next to their heart and pledges “in rod we trust”.

Turnip (You can no longer become frail): The Slay the Spire world’s range of fruit and vegetables are weird. What kind of messed up ecosystem can only produce strawberries, pears, mangoes, turnips, and ginger? Climate change truly did a number on it. Anyway, turnips have calcium in them, which prevents brittle bone disease AKA weak.

Unceasing Top (Whenever your hand is empty, draw 1 card): A reference to Inception, a movie I’ve never seen but assume it was about some dudes playing card games in dreams. And I expect Yu-Gi-Oh’s next anime to be about that as well. The top spins in response to your character’s hand picking up a card, so your character says that they have to keep the top spinning or the room will explode and then “accidentally” draws a card while doing that. The enemy never catches on.

Wing Boots (You may ignore paths up to three times): The paths in the spire are mutually-exclusive stairways that lead characters up the tower. Using the wing boots lets you literally jump from one staircase to another out of a window. And also gets you a Red Bull sponsorship.

And those are the rares. The shopkeeper also sells relics in addition to the cards and potions, and they’re as weird as he is.

Cauldron (When obtained, brew 5 random potions): Witches be brewin’. Potions. In cauldrons. Not really sure what use cauldrons have other than for potions. It is kind of a shame that chemists use a bunch of tubes instead of this menacing piece of medieval cookware.

Chemical X (When using an X cost card, its effects are increased by 2): The Slay the Spire devs have done their algebra, and X is equal to 2. Finally, one piece of y = mx+b can be put to rest. This chemical reacts with the letter “x” which only shows up on X cost cards and creates a very consistent product in that reaction. Very dependable.

Clockwork Souvenir (Start combat with 1 artifact): I assume this is from the Big Ben museum gift shop since what other clockwork would have souvenirs? Anyway, like a lot of other things, when the enemy tries to weaken your character, they use this souvenir to block it and it makes the enemy feel too bad to follow through. But only once! They’re unconscionable monsters afterwards.

Dolly’s Mirror (Choose a card in your deck. Gain an additional copy of it): This is Dolly Parton’s mirror and it’s frankly disturbing that the merchant has it. But it is comforting that she exists even in Slay the Spire’s nightmarish world. Do you really need me to explain how a mirror can create an additional copy of something?

Frozen Eye (Your draw pile now shows what you’ll draw in order): The Frozen Egg was impossible to explain, but at least this frozen eye isn’t too difficult. The eye itself does nothing. Your character just looks at their draw pile through the ice crystal and it makes things crystal clear : ).

Hand Drill (Whenever you break an enemy’s block, inflict 2 vulnerable): Whenever your enemy is blocking while you have this relic, your character uses the relic to attack instead of their normal weapon. It very specifically only can drill through an enemy’s armor rather than anything useful, like drywall or plaster. Once it makes it through the defense, the enemy says “ow”, and they’re vulnerable.

Lee’s Waffle (Gain 7 max HP and heal to full HP): The existence of this relic suggests one of two things: Lee is a famous chef that makes world-famous waffles, or Lee is the merchant’s grandfather that left the merchant this sacred waffle in his will, which the merchant promptly sold to you. I know which theory I’m in on. The Slay the Spire devs are making the claim that waffles are healthier than strawberries with this one.

Medical Kit (You can now play status cards. They will exhaust when played): Status cards are usually things like “wounds” or “injuries” or “slime” which is my least favorite status (outside of AFK). You use a medical kit to patch up things like that. I still remember the first time I put a band-aid on a slime.

Membership Card (All items cost 50% less): Self-explanatory scam. At least this dude doesn’t sell gift cards.

Orange Pellets (Whenever you play an attack, skill and power on the same turn, remove all debuffs): The orange pellets are 100% effective cure-alls, but the box they come in is a notoriously tricky thing to open. It requires that very specific combination of cards played to open. The game claims the pellets are made out of fungi which might mean your character simply gets too high to feel the debuffs.

Orrery (Choose and add 5 cards to your deck): An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system. For some reason, the merchant replaced all of the planets with a bunch of cards that your character can add to their deck if they want to, or they can leave them there to keep the look of the orrery fresh. I know what I’d do.

Prismatic Shard (You may now choose cards from other classes and colorless cards): The cards in Slay the Spire are all color-coded in the literal sense. If another color gets on them, they’ll absorb the color, and change into a card that suits that color. If multiple colors get on a card, it becomes colorless. This prismatic shard is very leaky and spills on every card your character sees, causing all sorts of chaos.

Sling of Courage (Start combat vs. elites with 2 strength): You’d think this thing would give your character courage the entire climb rather than specific fights. In conjunction with the Preserved Insect, your character starts a fight versus elites by using the sling to fling a beetle at monsters, and it scares them and makes you more courageous. Alright, I’m into this dumb combination. Without the insect? Well, uh, your character thinks of the great times it had slinging insects at elites, so the effect remains.

Strange Spoon (Cards that exhaust may not 50% of the time): I said earlier that “exhaust” is a card’s way of saying “death” but, in this case, I’m choosing to interpret it as “lost”. As in, your character loses access to the card for the rest of the fight when it exhausts because it fell out of their hands and down the stairs or something. Well, the Strange Spoon convinces your character they have telekinesis, and they start trying to use that power to pick those cards back up. Telekinesis only works half the time, sadly.

The Abacus (Gain 6 block each time you shuffle your deck): An abacus is used to count things, and it is very hard to count stuff when things keep getting shuffled. Out of frustration, your character uses the abacus to keep track of how many times they’ve shuffled the deck in a turn, and the beads on the abacus block attacks. Hmm. That explanation really ran out of steam.

Toolbox (At the start of combat, choose between 3 colorless cards to add to your hand): It’s pretty good advice to keep a bunch of maybe-useful things with a broad set of potential applications in a toolbox, and that’s exactly what this does! However, I wouldn’t want a toolbox like this in real life–a toolbox that can only grant access to three random tools when opened isn’t very useful.

Those are the shopkeeper’s relics done, and I no longer have to think about that weirdo. Bosses also drop relics, and these are important and powerful! But what are they? And how do they work?

Astrolabe (Upon pickup, choose and transform 3 cards, then upgrade them): An astrolabe is a now-obsolete instrument that was used to make universal calculations. Somehow, in Slay the Spire, it actually upgrades things rather than making them obsolete!!! I guess it just recalculates the values of cards, which we’ve already seen can make a fine orrery. So it just makes sense.

Black Star (Enemies drop 2 relics upon defeat): I have no idea what this is in reference to. Could be a reference to David Bowie, could be a “theoretical star built using semiclassical gravity as an alternative to a black hole”, could be the Ghana national football team. Anyway, stars used to symbolize a sheriff’s authority, so I guess relics respect your authority and give you twice the bounty when they die.

Busted Crown (Gain 1 energy at the start of turn. Future card rewards have 2 fewer choices): This makes me think that all the card choices come on a crown, and that breaking that crown gives you energy at the cost of space for placing the cards. Kind of like breaking a plate that food comes on. Very rude of your character to do this, imo, even if it gives them energy.

Calling Bell (Gain 3 random relics and a special curse): I hear slay the spire bells a-ringin/giving me three relics I’m a-keeping/letting me strike with swords and shields/all the evildoers in this foreign field/for some reason I can’t explain/once you had chosen this there was never/never an honest curse/but that was when I slayed the spire.

Coffee Dripper (Gain 1 energy at the start of turn. You can no longer rest at rest sites): Obviously, coffee gives you energy at the cost of sleep. This was very much inspired by the development cycle and I have nothing to say.

Cursed Key (Gain 1 energy at the start of turn. Any non-Boss chests opened will inflict a curse upon you): Your character can already open chests without the key. Why on earth do they start using the cursed key after picking it up? They have to know that it’s cursed! It’s in the name! Just use the regular key to open the chests! It’s probably like normal cursed equipment that you can’t get rid of once equipped, though.

Ectoplasm (Gain 1 energy at the start of turn. You can no longer gain gold): God, imagine a real ectoplasm being able to turn gold into energy. We might solve our energy problems and our capitalism problems simultaneously!

Empty Cage (Remove 2 cards from your deck): if u truly love someone, let tehm three. i love strikes and defends and always let them free. The bird that was in the empty cage comes back to eat the cards you want to remove.

Fusion Hammer (Gain 1 energy at the start of turn. You can no longer upgrade cards at rest sites): Just like the cursed key, I really got to wonder what the deal with your character is here. You have a normal hammer that you know can upgrade your cards! Just keep using that at the rest sites while holding onto this hammer for the energy! Unless the name “fusion hammer” implies that the energy you gained from the hammer had fused with your regular hammer, rendering it unusable.

Pandora’s Box (Transform all strikes and defends): Pandora’s Box didn’t transform all the neutral in the world into good and evil, it simply released all the good and evil. So this mythical box is wrongly named!! But the main throughline is that Pandora opening her box was, on the whole, a good thing, despite the evils she released. So you should be fine taking this box since it is usually gonna be positive.

Philosopher’s Stone (Gain 1 energy at the start of turn. All enemies start combat with 1 strength): The philosopher’s stone is also being misused!! The stone was used to create the elixir of life that made people immortal and also turned all metals into gold, and here it’s explicitly making you more vulnerable to enemies and also not giving you money! Come onnnnnnnnn.

Runic Dome (Gain 1 energy at the start of turn. You can no longer see enemy intent): Your character puts this dome over their head and it works like a tinfoil hat. Jams up the signals. On the one hand, this makes it impossible for the enemies to know what you’re doing, but, on the other, it makes it impossible for you to know what they’re doing, and it’s a lot more important to know that. So, as always, tinfoil hats are a double-edged sword.

Runic Pyramid (At the end of your turn, you no longer discard your hand): Your character hides all the cards they’re supposed to discard in this pyramid, and it fools the judge that tells you to discard your hand. Simple.

Sacred Bark (Double the effectiveness of potions): This is actually a reference to Cascara Sagrada, a real-world sacred bark that Native Americans used for healing purposes. It is nowadays used as a laxative but has been classified as a controlled substance, despite being literal bark of a tree. I’m sure Hamilton’s Pharmacopia will be doing an episode on it and reiterate the point that making plants illegal is ludicrous. I don’t think I need to explain much further about how this relic works.

Slaver’s Collar (Gain 1 energy at the start of your turn during bosses and elite fights): This one just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Could they have tried to call this anything else? Or are your Slay the Spire characters so poor in taste that they would choose to try and make a fashion statement by wearing a literal collar that slaves wore and somehow gain energy from it? Disturbing.

Snecko Eye (Draw 2 additional cards at the start of your turn. Start combat confused): I would be confused to if I looked at my possessions while climbing a tower on the way to kill a heart and saw a snake’s eye, so I don’t blame your character. Confusion also makes it so that you draw more cards than you’re allowed, and the insanity defense works!

Sozu (Gain 1 energy at the start of your turn. You can no longer obtain potions): The sozu is a noise-making fountain that drives away animals that might try to otherwise prey on a peaceful garden. The zen-like nature of it gives your character strength, but, for some reason, it also gives your character the idea to filter all their potions through it. This does not actually work, and waters the potions down to 0% effectiveness.

Tiny House (Gain 1 potion. Gain 50 gold. Raise HP by 5. Obtain a random card. Upgrade a random card): This treasure is really accurate. Whenever you gain a house, you earn more money, gain more vitality, and obtain random crap that you hoard. I assume so, anyway, since I’m a goddanged millenial who eats avocado toast!!!

Velvet Choker (Gain 1 energy at the start of your turn. You can no longer play more than 6 cards a turn): This is more tasteful than the slaver’s collar. I can at least think of your character being a middle schooler, buying this from Hot Topic, and wearing it to show they aren’t a sheeple. Only problem is that such a defiant attitude prevents them from reaching their full potential, like me in middle school.

And finally, the last set of relics are the ones that you can only get from ? events during your climb up the spire. I’m so grateful to be done with this ? event of writing an article about Slay the Spire.

Bloody Idol (Whenever you gain gold, heal 5 HP): “Oi, mate, you knicked my bloody idol. Give it back or I swear on yur mum”. Capitalism is saved by this relic since it turns money into vitality without doing anything to the money. It’s just a cynical representation of how much longer rich people live compared to poor people. Anyway, the idol literally converts your money to blood and vice-versa.

Cultist Headpiece (Your character yells “Caw” at the start of fights): Your character loves to cosplay, but felt embarrassed about it before seeing other cultists do the same thing. A heartwarming example of how you should be proud of what you love. But not me. I’m not proud of this.

Enchiridion (At the start of combat, add a random power card to your hand that costs 0 this turn): Short for “Enchiridion of Epictetus” (pronounced epic-tee-tus), which was an ancient Greek manual for how to be a good stoic. Looks like it was one of the first New York Times bestselling self-help books, and I can see why if it makes you more powerful at no cost to yourself! Your character flips to a random page at the start of combat, and it always has a helpful bookmark of a card that someone else kindly left over.

Face of Cleric (At the end of combat, raise max HP by 1): Before you ask, this is just a mask. Not actually a face. Would be a lot weirder otherwise to just have the face of a cleric. The mask raises vitality because Slay the Spire is secretly a Jesus game and Jesus grants eternal life to his shepherds aka clerics.

Golden Idol (Enemies drop 25% more gold): Your character uses gold dropped by enemies to chip at the golden idol and collect more gold from the small pieces that they’re able to scrape off.

Gremlin Visage (At the start of combat, gain 1 weak): Just like all of the harmful relics, why doesn’t your character simply take this thing off their body? Just throw it away! I don’t care if you litter when your goal is saving the world by tearing out its heart or whatever the plot of Slay the Spire is. Your character loves to cosplay but anyone that sees them in the gremlin visage makes fun of them, and they take it very personally and thus lose strength. But then they get over it.

Mark of the Bloom (You can no longer heal): Sounds like the name of a bad Alt-J song, which is ALL OF THEM!!! As we all know, bloomed flowers cannot heal, because they have already peaked, and immediately start to whither. So too does your character.

Mutagenic Strength (Start each combat with 3 strength. Then lose that strength next turn.): If this is how steroids worked, Barry Bonds would’ve been caught way earlier than he was. He’d have to juice up before every at-bat. Anyway, your character is able to juice between fights, but, as always, the enemies distract them between turns from being able to shoot themselves full of drugs. Smart choice–wouldn’t want to miss a vein.

N’loth’s Gift (Triples the chance of receiving rare cards as a reward): N’Loth’s Gift is an unopened present that your character never ends up opening throughout the run–at least, that’s how it looks in the UI. Your character actually opens it after every fight, and, every once in a while, a rare card is in the gift box. It’s Schrodinger’s card box.

N’loth’s Hungry Face (The next non-boss chest you open will be empty): MFW u open a non-boss chest and it’s empty: 😦 .

Necronomicon (Your first attack in combat that costs 2 or more will happen twice; also, add an inescapable curse to your deck): The Book of the Dead brings a curse that’ll cause anyone that comes into contact with your character to remind you that HP Lovecraft was really racist and to not look up his cat’s name and you should remember that the next time you read his works. In response, your character takes their rage out by attacking twice. Simple.

Neow’s Lament (Your first three combat encounters will have enemies at 1 HP): Neow is the whale god that brings your character back at the start of every run. They lament that they have to do this job, and enemies at the start of the spire sympathize so hard that they lay down their life for you. Very kind of them.

Nilry’s Codex (At the end of your turn, you may add one of three random cards to your deck for this combat): The game never answers who Nilry is. But a codex is a book of laws. Cards are the laws of the Slay the Spire universe, so it makes sense that this codex would contain a billion cards in there.

Odd Mushroom (Take 25% more damage while vulnerable rather than 50% more): Once again, Slay the Spire is CHAMPIONING DRUGS by saying mushrooms cure vulnerability. Not completely, at least, otherwise this would put this at odds with the Jesus game sort of thing. But clearly a dev got through a tough time with DRUGS.

Red Mask (Inflict 1 weak on each enemy at the start of combat): The opposite of the gremlin visage. Even though they look very similar, the Slay the Spire society respects the red mask, and respect your character’s cosplay. Until they realize it was a cosplay and regain their strength.

Spirit Poop (Reduces your run’s score by 1): If I offended spirits enough that they’d deliberately leave me their excrement, I would add 1 point to my life’s score. But this game disagrees and claims that “angering the spirits is bad karma”. But not that bad.

Ssserpent Head (Entering a ? will earn you 50 gold): The head is an effective dowsing rod that searches for and collects random gold in rooms like a souped-up metal detector. Snakes are known for their intrinsic gold-searching abilities. That’s why there were a bunch of snakes around the gold mines during the gold rushes. It’s how they naturally evolved. So, remember, if you see a snake, follow it to gold.

Warped Tongs (At the start of your turn, upgrade a random card in your hand for the rest of combat): Tongs are used to hold things that are dangerous. Most cards depict dangerous things. As such, it only makes sense to use these warped tongs (which lengthen their reach) to pick up the dangerous equipment and then hit people over the head with the combined power of tongs and the weapon. It. Just. Makes. Sense.

WOW, I made it through. Oh, but of course there’s one super special super awesome relic that only is granted to those that have literally every other relic in one of those specific relic pools, and that is:

Circlet (Collect as many as you can!): A circlet in our world is a neat necklace for your wrist that offers no benefit to the wearer, just like this circlet. Self-explanatory.

Well, next time, I really hope to choose a shorter topic. I chose this one because it seemed fun and breezy until I realized how many there were. Thanks for reading or ctrl+fing to whatever relic you wanted explained. Let me know if there was a better explanation or anything I missed. Keep on slayin’.

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Where are these Mushroom Kingdom Stadiums, and how much do they cost?

I love the Mario sports games. They’re insanely fun, infinitely replayable, and extremely rich in Mushroom Kingdom lore. In a passive, Dark Souls-ian way, of course. The RPGs are much more explicit in how they flesh out the Mushroom Kingdom which often leads to inconsistencies. Like Super Mario RPG suggests that Bowser’s Keep is a two-minute walk away from Mario’s house while Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam puts an entire desert between the two locations (I will say that, during cursory research of this joke, I found that the distance between Bowser’s Castle and Peach’s Castle is always really close in the Mario RPGs, and, when it isn’t (like in Paper Mario games), Bowser’s Castle can fly and thus instantly be two minutes away from anything).

The great thing about Mario sports games is that they are allowed to forget all pre-established norms of the Mushroom Kingdom, timespace included. I mean, they’re already letting Bowser play baseball with Princess Peach despite there being zero secret service agents anywhere, so who cares if the developers make up entire locations to put these random stadiums in? I do.

That’s why I’ll be looking at the stadiums in five different Mario sports games, and I’ll try to put them in geographical context and monetary context. Because, let me tell you, sports stadiums in the 2000s are more than just a giant, out-of-place eyesore in a cityscape, they’re also super expensive and usually the taxpayers in that cityscape are the ones paying for it. For the geographic context of a stadium, I’ll try to be as specific as possible by namedropping at least one actual location from a Mario game where the stadium could conceivably be. For the money, I’ll put it into total coin cost, where 1 coin equals $1, and I’ll also say who paid for the stadium to be built. Spoiler alert, it’s always Toads.

The five games we’ll be looking at are the ones with the most interesting set of stadiums in that they are all over the Mushroom Kingdom and they aren’t just patches of grass. Sorry Mario Tennis, every single tennis “dome” is in the Mushroom Kingdom’s equivalent of Wimbledon Tennis Club. And, sorry, Mario Golf, I know that Toadstool Tour has some interesting thought exercises, like who on earth is the groundskeeper maintaining Bowser’s Badlands’ hole 3 and what did they do to deserve that punishment, but you can find some rich oil-trading Toad behind every well-manicured piece of grass. That’s why we’ll be looking at the stadiums in Super Mario Strikers, Mario Strikers Charged, Mario Superstar Baseball, Mario Super Sluggers (but only briefly), and Mario Sports Mix.

I think doing the same set of thought exercises on Mario Kart tracks or Mario Party boards could be very interesting, and might do that later. But it’s these five games that I love and love to think about, so it’s what I’m starting with. And the first game we’ll look at is Super Mario Strikers for the Gamecube, the best game of all time.

The Palace - Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia

Let’s start with The Palace. No, it is not a palace for ants. This is the largest picture of the field I could find. The Palace was once a royal family residence which means that Princess Peach or one of her ancestors gave the go-ahead to turn the place into a soccer field. Nice touch from the field designers to keep the iconic dome and towers. Considering The Palace’s past, the redesign from home into a stadium probably cost less than a typical stadium, and made the field fit in more with the surrounding landscape–like a Royal Fenway Park. I’ll say that The Palace is in the hills beyond Peach’s Castle as according to its Paper Mario 64 location, and the renovations cost some 30-40 million coins, based on the cost of renovations of Turner Field into a football stadium.


You really can’t tell, but Pipeline Central is several miles in the sky, and on top of a floating platform. That is insane. The actual act of constructing this place meant the developers skimped on the material and built a soccer “field” of concrete. Forget the fact that players in Super Mario Strikers already have to deal with electric fences that zap the heck out of them and that flying elbows are encouraged, there’s gotta be a billion skinned knees after any game here. Concrete for soccer. Who would do this?? And, again, this place was built miles into the sky. So the costs are literally… through the roof. You can vaguely make out a skyscraper in the backdrop, so I think it’s safe to assume that Pipeline Central “field” is in the middle of an extremely rich New York-esque town that loves weird extreme sport entertainment and is “on top of the world”. That means that Pipeline Central could only be in Glitzville from The Thousand Year Door. I don’t even want to try and estimate how much of the Glitz Pit budget went into this. Yikes!

File:Strikers The Underground Overhead.png

You thought concrete and a few miles above the sky was bad? The Underground is made out of metal AND below the surface. Wario and Waluigi privately funded this monstrosity. I know where Wario gets his money (the garlic stock market), but how on earth did Waluigi get the cash for this? Maybe he’s got a metal-salvaging shop and was the supplier of the field material which, by the way, is METAL. Who would agree to play on this? While I think my educated guess of Glitzville for Pipeline Central is a good one, The Underground is under “a certain city”, and MarioWiki says that city is Diamond City. Which is a location that’s only ever been in WarioWare, and not any RPG. So I can’t say that. Instead we’ll just say it’s underneath, uh, Rogueport from The Thousand Year Door. Those weirdos seem like they’d be into suffocating while watching illegal underground soccer.

File:Strikers Konga Coliseum Overhead.png

Konga Coliseum is made out of wood, which sounds great compared to METAL and CONCERETE, but also means there will be a billion splinters. Still better in comparison. Donkey Kong obviously funded this, hence the name, in an effort to boost tourism to his town of, uh, Donkey Kong Island I guess? They’ve never shown where DK Island is in comparison to the Mushroom Kingdom, but I’d bet it’s about as far off the mainland as Yoshi Island is. Pretty tame stadium from DK… but it still seems very against his nature aesthetic to even have.

File:Strikers Crater.png

Crater Field is set in a mountain range of active volcanoes on Yoshi’s Island and features those heat-proof egg-shaped stands for spectators to sit in for their protection. Of course… the players have zero protection from the heat. Or the meteor that’ll presumably crash down on them any minute since they’re playing in Crater Field. I feel like everyone would’ve loved the absolutely insane extremism of Strikers if the game came out in the 90s. This is just beyond the pale. But, hey, at least the field is made out of grass! Which somehow never catches on fire due to the heat! Even though this place is on Yoshi’s Island, and presumably in that mountain range in the exact middle of the island, I don’t think that dinosaur could afford building it. I’m sure it was commissioned by the well-meaning Mushroom Kingdom colonizers and Elon Musk.

The Battle Dome is objectively the coolest stadium in this list. Sorry, but it’s true. Set in Bowser’s Castle whenever he doesn’t have it set up for a go kart race, this place is great. Yes, the field is made of concrete, but look at the streetlights! And the design of the goals is epic, for the win. It also has the largest crowd capacity of any field on this list, seating 68,000 easily. Bowser is the only one in Strikers with some business sense. Just like the go kart tracks, he definitely privately funded this for some good Bowser army propaganda, and a lot of coin.

The last stadium in the original Strikers is Bowser Stadium. “But wait, Pungry, I thought The Battle Dome is in Bowser’s castle. Bowser Stadium does not look like it’s in Bowser’s castle. It looks… blue,” you say. And you’re right! Bowser Stadium is in space. Why? Who cares! Bowser’s castles always have flight capabilities, so you’re just going to question his 50,000 seating capacity spacecraft that contains a rubber field? Come on! This was clearly built for rich Neo Bowser City residents to show their wealth by taking potential business partners into the weird suites located in the orange “lenses” of the spacecraft. Bowser definitely got those idiots to front the cost of this, saying that the broadcasting rights to the Super Bowser Cup finals will make that cash back and way more even though illegal streaming is deeply cutting into Striker profits. Morons.

Super Mario Strikers was, in a lot of ways, a proof of concept for Mario Strikers Charged. The stadiums and general world-building are a great reflection of this. All of the old stadiums are back and relatively unchanged (though The Battle Dome looks like there’s soot falling from the stadium rafters, I think Bowser stopped maintaining the place), but there’s ten new ones and each is crazier than the last.

Before we get to the stadiums, I’d like to remind everyone the canonical way teams enter the “pitch” in Mario Strikers Charged. In the original, teams clearly come out of some tunnel in the stadium, like a normal soccer entrance. In Charged… the captains are first teleported from some locker room onto an airplane, and then they skydive WITHOUT A PARACHUTE and land on the midline, ready to play. Slamball was already too much for human ligaments. If Charged’s style of “soccer” became the norm, we’d know we were living in Brave New World or some other dystopian future. But I digress, let’s look at the kooky stadiums in Charged.

File:The Vice MSC.png

Right off the bat, The Vice looks normal, but something seems off. And I’ll tell you exactly what it is: these grandstands might be the worst thing we’ve seen yet. Not a single person is sitting, and I think it’s because there’s legitimately nowhere to sit. You don’t see it, but the camera zooms out and The Vice shows off its 300,000 seating capacity. No, that’s not a typo. 300,000 people all hemmed in with the world’s worst view of a 100’x75′ patch of terribly-maintained piece of grass. At least, I think it’s grass. I have no idea how the “cracks” in the grass happen, and I have no idea how anyone would sign off on this. The Vice’s enormous size and seating capacity and terribly-maintained faculties combine into something that I don’t think even Wario paid for. It was done cheaply for the masses, so I think some get-rich-quick scheming Toad from Toad Town put this all together and got his local politicians to make the taxypayers pay for this. I sincerely cannot imagine someone privately funding such an awful-looking stadium. You know what? If this is Toad Town from Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time, the cracks came from the Shroobs destroying the city. There we go. Mystery solved. I would never go to a game here.

File:Thunder Island MSC.png

Like I said, every stadium gets crazier. This is Thunder Island. It has a “seating capacity” of 25,000. Where are those 25,000 people if this is the soccer field, you might ask? Oh, you can kind of see them in the top-left. The audience is the colored blobs all packed together on floating stands. We know the players skydive onto the field, but how on earth do the fans get there? Regardless, Thunder Island probably cost nothing to “make”. I think some insane cliff divers off the coast of Yoshi’s Island spotted the outcropping and quickly calculated that it was the perfect size for a soccer pitch so they decided to put in some cameras and lighting. Instead of putting in the standard electric fence, they hired some Lakitus to fish out anyone that falls off the edge and called it a day. Again, no one in the Mario universe that we know of seems insane enough to be behind this, so it was probably nameless thrill-seeking Toads that did this. Terrifying.

The Sand Tomb - Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia

The Sand Tomb is the most sensible stadium yet. There are zero spectators allowed! Instead, there’s just a barebones camera crew with the electric fence technicians and some Thwomps that are at every game. I actually don’t think this field’s in the Mushroom Kingdom. The desert ruins make me think of Sarasaland, Daisy’s home kingdom. I think it’s the literal ruins of the once great nation of Sarasaland that Daisy decided to turn into a soccer field. But she only agreed to do it on the condition that no one is allowed to touch the actual ruins–hence no fans and the skydiving entrance. Yes, I’m aware the hieroglyphics of Mario and Donkey Kong on the columns kind of ruin this theory and put it in the Mushroom Kingdom–world 5 of Donkey Kong ’94, probably–but I like my theory way more.

File:MSC The Classroom.png

The Classroom seems more sensible than the Sand Tomb at first glance. But think about how players enter the field again. They don’t come through any door or tunnel into here. They sky-dive. And when they skydive into The Classroom, the sky is black above them. So there’s no actual roof above the Classroom, but the walls go all the way into the sky for seemingly no reason. It’s low-key insanely constructed. Also, no fans! Who built this? Well, I said that I want to keep most of these in the Mushroom Kingdom, but Beanbean Kingdom’s Woohoo Hooniversity got destroyed when Cackletta went through it, and there was no classroom remotely this size. I can only think some weird grant came in for Goom U, wherever the heck that is (it is NOT in Rogueport by the way), and they were like “well we got nothing else going”. If I toured a college campus with The Classroom in it, I would immediately leave and never apply. Great song, though.

File:MSC Lava Pit Overhead.png

What would you guess The Lava Pit’s seating capacity is? 0? Yeah, nah, you can’t see it, but a million miles away from the actual field is a set of grandstands that holds 31,360. I have no idea why anyone would want to go to The Lava Pit in person. What happened to the Crater Field heat-shielding technology? This is Bowser Jr.’s home field, so you can bet that he is responsible for the idea. “I wanna play soccer in a volcano! It’s gonna be epic, for the win!” is exactly the kind of thing a ten year old turtle-creature would think. Bowser got his best advisors to construct the place, but the turtle with the plan was Jr. And this vanity project probably came out of the funds that Bowser set aside for his Isle Delfino takeover, which is why the bathwater in that game is green. Anyway, don’t go to a field called The Lava Pit. Which I think is in Corona Mountain, but really could be anywhere. The MarioWiki says it’s in Dark Land, aka World 8 of Super Mario Bros 3, because you can see a rock formation of Bowser’s head somewhere.

File:MSC Wastelands Overhead.jpg

From the heat of the Lava Pit to the cold of… the Wastelands? The field of ice is my least favorite stadium in any Mario game. It sucks to play on because you go slipping all over the place. And I cannot imagine how awful it would be to go in person, but I guess Packers fans still go to Lambeau. After the previous three somewhat-professional stadiums, we’re back to the great design of “a terribly-maintained chunk of field in the middle of a billion people” that The Vice and Thunder Island had. The Wastelands makes me think of Fahr Outpost from The Thousand Year Door. Icy, cold, no one there, no reason to go there. I bet all those Russian bob-ombs paid for this slice of entertainment so that there’d be literally any tourism. And it very sadly worked as you can see from the 40,000 here.

File:Crystal Canyon.png

There’s probably people out there mad about Red Rocks being a music venue, and those same people are mad about Crystal Canyon being turned into a soccer field. Look at these insane rock formations that are now playing second-fiddle to a patch of dirt with an electric fence around it. Tragic! And look at how close some of the 24,000 fans are to the crystals! Someone’s going to break the crystal or try to steal it someday soon. This is Diddy Kong’s turf, but I really don’t see Diddy or Donkey Kong doing this perversion of nature. Crystals like these but much smaller are found all over a bunch of galaxies in Super Mario Galaxy, including the Mushroom Kingdom, as the crystals form when star bits make impact on a planet’s surface. So Crystal Canyon could be anywhere. I’ll just randomly choose a Donkey Kong canyon world. Alright, it’s in Bright Savannah, world 3 of DKCR: Tropical Freeze. But it was built by those crazy Toads.

File:MSC The Dump.jpg

The Wastelands turns out to not be the least appealing field in Charged. It’s The Dump. Yep. It’s a soccer field in the middle of a dump with a small drain in the center that sucks in all the mud. There is no explanation for this one. I can almost understand The Vice. The people making the stadium initially probably didn’t build it for 300,000 people. They probably expected it to be a minor success of a sport that would come and go, and when it became extremely popular, they just kept building up. This is a soccer stadium in a dump. No one of Mario’s friends is this heartless. So who built this, and why did they agree to play in it? The answer to the second question has to be money. The answer to the first… well, I think this stadium is specifically in the Mushroom Kingdom dump, which is located at the end of the Mushroom Kingdom sewers. Which, if you take Kero Sewers from Super Mario RPG as the true look of the Mushroom Kingdom, would put The Dump like a mile away from Peach’s Castle. This was not a well thought-out sewer system. Also, why would there ever be 43,000 people going to the Dump? Terrible field.

File:MSC Stormship Stadium.png

Stormship Stadium gets around every question about “where the heck is this stadium” by being a literal airship soccer stadium. The usual question of “who the heck would want to go to a game in this stadium” remains because the fans are on adjacent stormships and have the world’s shakiest view of the game. Petey Piranha calls this field home, which is very funny because Petey Piranha is a man-eating plant with the chillest reggae song for a theme song, so the incongruity of the stadium just kind of fits with the rest of his incongruences. That said, he got these ships from Bowser after Mario still managed to fight his way through them in Galaxy, and Bowser just wanted those bad memories gone with the wind. If only we could use real life military warcrafts in this way. Oh, wait…

Carrier Classic - Wikipedia
Carrier Classic

And after all the insanity of the Charged stadiums, we come to the simplest, most elegant stadium. Galactic Stadium.

File:Galactic Stadium.png

Galactic Stadium is exactly like Thunder Island. Only instead of being on an island surrounded by water, it’s on an island surrounded by outer space. This is the only field where it makes sense to do airdrops because how else do you get to outer space? I really wonder how it is financially viable for games to be played here since there’s no revenue generated by ticket sales in outer space, and launching people to outer space seems prohibitively expensive. But that’s why I’m not the Elon Musk of the Mushroom Kingdom, er, Muskroom Kingdom, and whoever decided to make the investment in Galactic Stadium is. Honestly, this seems like something Waluigi would do. It’s not as gaudy as some of his other handiwork like Waluigi Pinball (which we’ll talk about!), but it is the logical end of his extreme lonerism. “You don’t like me? Fine, I’ll take my ball and go home to my soccer field on a flying rock (which has i-beams sticking out of it, you guys see that?)”.

Mario Strikers Charged is a game that you cannot start to question because there really are no answers for a lot of it. Like the fact that high-voltage electric fences line each one of these fields is quaint in comparison to the literal field location and construction. I love the game, but I pray that it never becomes a reality. Let’s go from the super-extremism of Strikers to the far more grounded-in-reality Mario Superstar Baseball series.

I think the reason the baseball stadiums turned out more “normal” than the ones in Strikers is because of how regimented baseball is versus soccer. You can play soccer on any rectangular patch of land as long as you set up two goals. Baseball requires a diamond surrounded by an outfield and a bunch of walls. There is an innate order required to play the game. And while even the most basic of basic field in Strikers, The Palace, is pretty out there for a soccer field, Mario Stadium is an idyllic baseball field.

Retro Game Friday: Mario Superstar Baseball -

Set right next to a beach, Mario Stadium is as beautiful as PNC Park in Pittsburgh but nowhere near as cold because it’s on Delfino Isle. It would be a lovely place to take in a ballgame. According to the MarioWiki, the stands “hold around 300+ people” which I think is a hilarious understatement if freaking Pipeline Central holds 25,000. I’ve already said this place is on the Isle Delfino but it probably cost a pretty penny for such a nice stadium. If PNC Park cost $216 million to construct, I’ll say that Mario Stadium was around 175 million coins because they decided to just not construct anything in center field. I gotta wonder how much those houses on the beach with a view of the field have to cost because that’s where I want to live.

Peach Garden - Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia

There are zero good pictures of Peach Garden on the internet. While Mario Stadium has literally nothing in centerfield, centerfield of Peach Garden is the literal entrance to Peach’s Castle with a huge door and always-one-hit-away-from-being-destroyed stained glass window just above it. There are no stands in the outfield–that’s where the castle wall is–but this must also be a great place to catch a ballgame from the infield. The Strikers stadiums are designed to be as extreme and uninviting as possible, and the baseball stadiums feel so cozy in comparison, and I love it. Look! There are beautifully maintained hedges and a lovely water feature right in the middle of play. Considering the Toads are already taxed to heck and back for regular castle maintenance, the only real costs to “making” Peach Garden are the grandstands and the random floating blocks. That’s just how the gardens normally look. No further questions about location considering it’s in one of a few places in the Mushroom Kingdom that you could call iconic.

File:Wario Palace.png

Wario Palace is the first deathpit of the Mario baseball series. First of all, it’s in a desert. Secondly, there are small patches in the field that start a tornado whenever anything enters the area. Thirdly, there are chain chomps that jump into play and bite anyone nearby. And it’s still tamer than literally anything we saw in Charged. Wario spent a bunch of money on making this place look good while trying to skimp as hard as possible on all costs, so it probably only cost 30 million coins. I mean, there aren’t even any stands for fans to sit in, just the creepy golden statue of Wario underneath the creepier golden head of Wario in centerfield. I, for one, do not believe for a second that Wario actually lives here. Love the pitching mound’s design. This place fits in with Scorching Sandpaper Desert’s vibe from Paper Mario: The Origami King. I could see people living in Toad City making the trip to catch a game at the Palace… if the place had freaking stands!

File:Yoshi Park.png

Yoshi Park is on Yoshi Island. Not only that, it’s two feet from Yoshi’s house, as you can see by the iconic Yoshi fireplace with an apple tree in the background. I don’t think any money was spent on this construction. They made the “dugout” and fences out of wood from freshly-chopped trees, took some patches of dirt, maybe hired a groundskeeper to cut the grass (but not the Piranha plants!) and make the cool Yoshi pattern. There’s very few jokes to make about this place because it is bland. Other than Piranha plants eating the ball and players, there’s nothing really going on at Yoshi Island’s scenic baseball field.

File:Donkey Kong Jungle 1.png

Donkey Kong Jungle put all of its money in the barrel cannon gimmick. So much money that they didn’t even bother trying to remove the river full of Klaptraps before putting in the baseball field. That river is going to eventually flood during a bad storm and destroy the field, I don’t care what those floodgates in left-center field are doing. Anyway, the barrel cannons are ridiculous things that fire huge barrels across the field that run over players. Each barrel probably costs 5000 coins to fire, and they fire every time the ball is in the outfield. This is why they really skimped costs on literally everything else in construction. No stands for fans. I do wonder if the field makers found this perfectly-shaped hole and decided to put a baseball field in or if they somehow made this crater without destroying the surrounding ecosystem. Let’s just say it’s in Forest Maze in Super Mario RPG and not think about this too hard.

File:Bowser Castle MSB.png

The last field is the iconic Bowser Castle. Just compare the construction of this place to The Lava Pit. You can just feel Bowser’s top priority was safety when it came to the open metal grates that let fireballs jump out burn opposing players because the rest of the lava pit is not open to fans to get burned with. Heck, there aren’t any stands for fans here either. It also has a huge centerfield with a cool centerpiece of Bowser looming over the batter. I’d be terrified if I was hitting here. Also, the Thwomps don’t squish players–they squish the ball since they’re outside the field of play. Bowser Castle really is downright humanitarian compared to Strikers. Anyway, this place is obviously in a random room of Bowser’s Castle and presumably cost little for Bowser to make. I bet the statue cost the most.

After all this try-hard writing, it’s nice to get an easy break. All 9 of Mario Super Sluggers’ baseball stadiums are on a man-made island called “Baseball Kingdom”. Princess Peach was behind the construction because she wanted all of her friends to play baseball together. She reportedly said “let’s play baseball every day, let’s play baseball every night, let’s play baseball all of the time”. As such, I literally don’t have to say a single thing about who paid for the construction of this place.

File:MSS Baseball Kingdom.jpg

HOWEVER! Wario City (the right-middle field south of the jungle) was built by Wario and the northernmost field(s) of Bowser Jr. Playground and Bowser Castle were built by Bowser. By the way, Bowser managed to build these stadiums on the top and bottom of a submarine that was used to transport the fields in secret in order to connect with baseball island. Perfectly, I might add. Like Peach expected it. During the day, the submarine flips to have Bowser Jr’s Playground up, and at night it has Bowser’s Castle. I would love it if someone, anyone could try and rationally explain how that works. Also, pretty messed up of Peach to build the Luigi’s Mansion field in the upper-left. And the person behind the construction of an entire island dedicated to baseball decided that her ballfield would be an ice rink. I really do not understand Peach’s thought process at all. I cannot imagine that the hard-working taxpaying Toads felt great about this investment from their royalty. Tickets to go to any game on the island cost five times as much due to the boat ride and construction, in addition to all the money paid in taxes. Awful luxury project that would get Peach voted out of public office but she’s luckily a royal. And not a Kansas City Royal. I could get in there and make fun of every stadium on the island, but I’ve said my piece. Let’s get to the last game with the most amount of stadiums: Mario Sports Mix!

There are 14 stadiums for the 4 sports in Mario Sports Mix. Some of these stadiums can host all 4 sports featured in the game, while others can only host 2 or 3. Those 4 sports, by the way, are basketball, dodgeball, volleyball, and, uh, hockey. Don’t worry, outside of one stadium, it’s roller hockey and not ice hockey. Before getting to the stadiums, I just want to say that, according to Mario Sports Mix, the Mushroom Kingdom had never heard of hockey, dodgeball, volleyball, or basketball until a giant meteor crashed into the place and the meteor split off into four crystals that each contained that sport’s ball/puck. Which is, frankly, hilarious world-building.

Mario Stadium (Mario Sports Mix) - Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia

I’m starting to get the feeling that nobody cares about these games. Not even MarioWiki has good photos of these cool stadiums. This is Mario Stadium in its basketball form, but it’s a traditional multi-purpose arena like an NBA/NHL arena that can easily transition into hockey, dodgeball, or volleyball as needed. Looking at Climate Change Arena for the cost, Mario Stadium probably cost a cool 900 million coins, and is pricelessly soulless for it. I hate its aesthetics, especially compared to all the previous cool places we saw. I don’t care that it’s the best experience for fans! Mario Stadium could be located literally anywhere with how homogenized it is. It’s in the Mushroom Kingdom equivalent of Indianapolis. So, uh, congrats to Rose Town from Super Mario RPG for being the most generic town I could find in a Mario RPG. You’re the lucky winners of Mario Stadium.

Mario Sports Mix - Koopa Troopa Beach by Spongyoshi on SoundCloud - Hear  the world's sounds

Koopa Troopa Beach is probably the beach that Mario Stadium from Mario Superstar Baseball sits on top of. It definitely cost nothing for the “stadium owners” to put up the volleyball net, or set up the dodgeball arena, or even put up the basketball hoops. But it must’ve cost them a lot to find rollerblades for hockey that work ON SAND. I’m not going to think about that one too hard. This place is in Isle Delfino and is only notable for sand rollerblades, which I would love to have.


Peach’s Castle directly contradicts the lore established in Mario Superstar Baseball as the field is nowhere to be seen even though it should be right there directly in the background of this shot. MY CANON! I really love the water feature that cuts through Peach’s Castle in all four versions of this field. Beautifully elegant. And all 200 people that can attend games here must feel so refined to watch the best and brightest try and hit a volleyball through a water spout. I can only hope they’re out of the splash zone. This place is shockingly at Peach’s Castle and cost her very little, especially in comparison to Baseball Island.


I do not conceptually understand why anyone would make a stadium like DK Dock. It is obnoxious as heck. The gimmick is that the playing field is two loosely-connected rafts that pull apart from each other due to the current. Whenever the ball goes out of bounds or a player falls into the water, the rafts must be reset to their neutral position. That is just a pain. Awful stadium design. The game’s trying to blame DK for this terrible construction but I get the feeling Croco is behind this and made the dock’s starting location somewhere just outside the Kero Sewers. I’m onto you, you jerkish purple crocodile. As a quick sidenote, whoever took this screenshot is either using a Mii that looks like Rosalina or is playing a modded version that puts Rosalina in the game, and it’s really freaking weird!


Toad Park is the first truly original stadium in Sports Mix, and I like it a lot! The field is playable only for hockey and dodgeball, and the gimmick is that there are traffic cones blocking stuff. That’s just good. The field itself is set in the middle of a go-kart racetrack–and I personally think it’s the middle of Toad Circuit from Mario Kart 7. So by answering where this track is located, we can suss out where one Mario Kart track is. This is a working-class Toad stadium that honest workers can take their families to on the weekends, so it’s somewhere between downtown Toad Town and the suburbs on slightly cheaper property. It doesn’t look like the whole theme park cost too much to make because the clientele isn’t that rich, so we’ll say it’s some 150 million coins in expenses and be happy about it. Toad Park is praxis.


Luigi’s Mansion is only playable for volleyball and basketball, which is a shame because it’s got a fun “lights on, lights off” gimmick that would’ve worked well for hockey. Anyway, it’s Luigi’s Mansion. For all we know, Luigi’s Mansion has always been on Baseball Island, so its appearance here means the gang went back to the island to play. Or the ghastly house just teleports wherever the heck it feels like. Regardless, whoever built this mansion has been long dead, and was also a terrible electrician. Can the new owner of the house please put in some modern necessities?


I love Western Junction. Just like Toad Park, it adds some good environmental lore to the Mushroom Kingdom. Like there’s apparently a place where the gold rush continues to happen since Shy Guys on trains will just come through the play area with either actual gold or with a yellow item more valuable than gold: bananas. It’s just so funny to me that the Mario Sports Mix versions of people would choose this place to play. The Charged universe would deem it too boring, but a literal train crossing seems out of line compared with stuff like Mario Stadium and Toad Park. Just like Koopa Troopa Beach, most of the playing surface was here before anyone decided to turn it into a hockey rink/dodgeball arena/volleyball and basketball court, so it must’ve cost nothing to make. All the maintenance costs are probably paid for by the Excess Express Corporation as they take passengers from Rogueport to Poshley Heights via the Western Junction. Great work, Pennington.

File:MSM 2-3 Dodgeball.png

Daisy Garden is also good world-building. This level suggests that Daisy is slightly sadistic as she puts Petey Piranhas into her garden on purpose. You know, a man-eating plant? Seems dangerous! Also, it feels really weird that the garden has some strange metallic playing surface instead of a bed of grass or succulents. Like, come on, Daisy. That can’t be good for your plants. Not that having idiots stomp around and play roller hockey on it could be much better. Really, why did you offer your garden as a place to play sports? If every captain in Sports Mix needed to provide a place to play, there must’ve still been a better option than your greenhouse. Or maybe she just saw it as a convenient way to cut costs like every other stadium in this dang game. Only Mario actually offering up some money for a real stadium while all his “friends” suggest playing in their one-bedroom apartment. Oh, and Daisy Garden is clearly in Sarasaland.

File:MSM 2-2 Hockey.png

Come on! Did you not hear what I just said, Wario? Your factory is a place to make treasure chests that contain coins or bombs for Neon Heights, not a place to play hockey, dodgeball, basketball, or volleyball. Did literally everyone in the Mushroom Kingdom get hit by the 2008 US Recession? What happened to Wario Palace’s majesty? Or the extremely stupid expenditure for Wario City? Now all you have the money for is converting a small part of your factory into a sporting room? Come on. I know you want some ROI for taking Smithy’s old factory from Super Mario RPG and turning it into a better place, but this is awful.

File:MSM 3-1 Basketball.png

Bowser Jr. Boulevard is the best stage in Mario Sports Mix. With that out of the way, let’s focus on how the literal child is the only character connected to gambling/casinos/red light district. It’s pretty funny that Nintendo allowed such a strong connection between Jr. and a casino considering how strict they were and are about censoring games. Anyway, the basketball/volleyball court on Bowser Jr. Boulevard is actually on a raised platform above the titular boulevard which presumably has shops and roads for cars or something. Whatever the heck is on a boulevard. This is just the cool spot to be and hang out. You can’t really tell, but there’s a pool to the side of the court where many fine young escorts hang out while catching a game. Bowser Jr. Boulevard is clearly the Broadway of Neo Bowser City, and cost a ton of money to make. You see that floor? That’s not hardwood, that’s an LCD screen that is able to display stuff like the “spotlights” with numbers on them and the giant rainbow display at the end of halves. It’d be such a sick thing to do in real life if not for how fragile it’d actually be. God I love this place so much. Make it real!

File:MSM Bowserscastle Dodgeball.png

Bowser’s Castle is underwhelming in creativity compared to the Boulevard of Broken Bowser Jr.s (Jrs? you decide). It’s basically the Lava Pit, only much smaller. Instead of being set on a floating platform in the middle of a lava ocean, this platform is supported by chains that allow the stage to tilt one way or the other while also in the middle of a lava ocean. But at least the chains are realistic, even if the lack of heat protection isn’t. Even Bowser himself wasn’t immune to the recession. I think the chains were a nice way of making the most out of a limited budget, because this whole place is underfurnished. All of the cool landmarks in the background were already built before this stadium was conceived. Maybe he spent all his money funding Bowser Jr.’s Boulevard. Regardless, it’s in Bowser’s Castle, which can be wherever the heck it wants to be.


I love Waluigi Pinball. Look to the left of that screenshot, and really take in the look of Waluigi’s robot. That thing rules. This place rules. Whoever originally came up with the concept in Mario Kart DS needs a raise. This place cost a ton to make for Waluigi, I’m sure. The robot alone with its pinball-wizardry probably cost as much as all the previous stadiums combined. Let alone the absolutely perfect theming and material used for the rest of this place. Look at the tunnel entrance in the background for the pinball! That is a beautiful touch. Maybe everyone was convinced by Waluigi to pitch in on this instead of making their own cool stadiums in some Mushroom Kingdom shark tank. It’s so good. I honestly have no idea what place in the Mushroom Kingdom deserves Waluigi Pinball, or had the space to let it be constructed there. Glitzville already has Pipeline Central, and it’s one of very few flashy-enough places for something like Waluigi Pinball. Ehh… I guess Flipside had the arcade. I’ll say it’s there, since Super Paper Mario doesn’t fit among the Paper Mario family, just like Waluigi.


Ghoulish Galleon is a weird ship that can host volleyball, dodgeball, basketball, or hockey at a moment’s notice, but has just a literal skeleton crew of Dry Bones and some empty boxes that get in the way. There is no explanation as to who decided this would be a good place to play sports at. If you subscribe to the theory that every Mushroom Kingdom character in Mario Sports Mix had to bring their place to play, this place belongs to either Diddy Kong or Yoshi. And it does not seem in line with either of their styles! The more I think about this place, the more out of place it feels. Like, Koopa Troopa Beach at least fits into Isle Delfino. There was a ghost ship level in Super Mario World but that was it, and this place doesn’t feel like that level at all. Considering how torn up the place is, it’s another stadium that pretends to be “just found” like some readymade art. Personally, I think Cortez finally got his ship out of Keelhaul Key and was just riding around when Mario remembered it existed and decided it’d be a good place to play sports at.


Last but not least, this Star Ship was meant to fly. Star Ship is just like Stormship Stadium in that it’s a mobile stadium that can go anywhere it wants to. I’d love to know how much it cost to convert the deck of an airship into a basketball court. Based on how expensive the hoops look, it probably cost relatively little, and they spent the excess budget on cool touches like that. Kind of sad I don’t have much to say about the final stadium, but it’s just a less extreme version of Stormship Stadium.

And with that, we’ve covered all of the stadiums in Super Mario Strikers, Mario Strikers Charged, Mario Superstar Baseball, Mario Super Sluggers, and Mario Sports Mix. I really enjoyed looking at each stadium and trying to figure out where it would be geographically. Even if some of the stadiums were in self-explanatory spaces, thinking about the logistics of the Mario Strikers Charged stadiums was great fun.

If I feel like it, I may write a sequel post that looks at the gimmick stadiums in Mario Power Tennis as well as the stadiums in Mario Hoops 3 on 3 and Mario Sports Superstars. Or maybe I’ll also do what I said and look at Mario Kart tracks and Mario Party boards. Or, what I’d really love to do, is analyze some new stadiums from a new Mario sports game. Please, Nintendo. Just give me another Strikers sequel. Don’t let Mario Tennis Aces kinda flopping ruin this for me.

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