Gaming Post 25: LarryBoy and the Bad Apple

A while back, the random number generator told me to write about one of the games that I’ve beaten, however, I’ve been procrastinating about it for some time now (of course while also playing lots of new games). The game was LarryBoy and the Bad Apple on the PlayStation 2. To explain why I played this particular game, I’ll need to explain what VeggieTales is and why it was so cool when it first came out.

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Nowadays, lots of our entertainment comprises of 3D rendered content, whether that’s monoscopic or stereoscopic 3D videogames, films, or television shows. It was not so prevalent when I was born though. There are plenty of full length 3D animated films available today, but the very first one was Toy Story which came out in 1995. Every film in this category came out in the past 20 years, which in the grand scheme of things is not a very long time. Before the first Toy Story movie came out, there was a “straight to VHS tape” series that was fully rendered in 3D. This series was VeggieTales, whose first episode came out in 1993, when I was 1. It must have been the coolest thing around.

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At the time, there had never ever ever ever ever been a show like VeggieTales. They even say so in the theme song!

VeggieTales was really great. I think I discovered it when I was about 4, when VeggieTales was 3 years into its run and there were only 5 episodes of the show. I think one of my cousins showed it to me after discovering it himself when he went to college. At the time, 3D animation was very exciting no matter what age you were because it was so new and fun. I’m sure many of us don’t even notice it today when we see it, because it’s become such a staple of entertainment in our society. It’s a technology that no longer seems new.

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VeggieTales episodes often feature moral dilemmas, sometimes through the retelling of Bible stories but also through original stories. There is always some humor to be found in the episodes, even though the plots of some of them can be slow for older viewers. I kept up with the series until about 2001 when I was 9, but the show seems to have continued at a steady pace.

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My favorite character was LarryBoy, the alter ego of Larry the Cucumber. Of the episodes that I watched, LarryBoy was in three of them, and was featured heavily in the two of them that took place in the fictional city of Bumblyburg. LarryBoy is a superhero similar to Batman, but he’s also a vegetable like most of the characters in VeggieTales.

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Sometimes characters can be fruits. After all, Bob the Tomato has seeds and is thus technically a fruit.

Years after I stopped following VeggieTales, I was going through a shelf of old PS2 games at a GameStop store, and I found a game called “LarryBoy and the Bad Apple”. The game is based on LarryBoy’s third adventure of the same name. I hadn’t seen the episode, so I figured that playing the game would be an approximation of watching the episode, but with added interactivity. That’s when I decided that I would play through the game.

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It was a pretty fun experience simply because I grew up watching LarryBoy and had sort of thought that a game about him would be cool. The gameplay was especially good in the segments of the game in which LarryBoy has to fly through the air. As a whole, the game mostly consists of puzzles and platforming. There are cutscenes taken directly from the VeggieTales episode that the game is based on.

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LarryBoy isn’t completely based on Batman. They went ahead and threw in a reference to Spider-Man too.

The main villain is an Apple who personifies temptation. This is especially interesting because as VeggieTales is limited to a cast of vegetables and fruit, casting the villain as an apple that tempts people cleverly draws a parallel between the villain in this story and the Apple of Eden that tempted Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. In that way, this was both an original story and biblical. The thematic use of apples to represent temptation and evil is quite old and prevalent throughout literature and other media.

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The main villain is called The Bad Apple. She is an apple who tempts people. LarryBoy’s temptation is eating too much chocolate.
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A witch tells Snow White that eating this apple will grant her a wish. Snow White gives into her temptation and eats it, but it is poisoned.
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The future that the forbidden fruit foretells… I shall change the dream into reality. -Death Note Intro Song English Translation
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The Piece of Eden is temptation given form. -Al Mualim talking about the mechanical device called the Apple of Eden (Assassin’s Creed)

The villain, so called “The Bad Apple”, goes around tempting people to neglect their responsibilities to do other things they’d like to do instead, getting the mayor to vainly obsess over her appearance and a cook to watch an entire science fiction TV series. LarryBoy breaks people free from their temptations by completing levels, each one given the theme of the person’s temptation. Ironically, one of the people in the game who the Bad Apple has tempted is someone who wants to play video games all day. What’s ironic about this is that in order to make this character pay attention to their real responsibilities, you have to beat a level of this real life video game. The moral of that chapter is to not play videogames all day, and yet this is exactly what I did to finish this game.

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Am I subject to temptation? Absolutely. Do I give in to my temptation? Oh yes, definitely. That’s how I beat so many games.

And so with that, I’ve finished another article on Zelgerath.com. Maybe I can get back in the swing of things. As always, Thanks for Reading! =)

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Gaming Post 20: Super Mario Galaxy 2

The random number generator has chosen my favorite single player game OF ALL TIME!!! The game is Super Mario Galaxy 2. It came out in early 2010 at the end of my Senior Year of High School. At the time, I still didn’t have a Wii, but that’s beside the point.

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I remember that Nintendo used their YouTube channel really well to hype this game up. They uploaded trailers in the form of purposefully glitchy videos with upside down video titles as if they were sent through space. Here’s a sample of a trailer that was re-uploaded by a fan and was thus preserved.

I remember that I really kept up with these trailers. I don’t usually pay attention to games much until they come out but Super Mario Galaxy 2 was an exception firstly because the game looked so good and secondly because the trailers were so fun.

That was my favorite trailer of them all because it showed us a huge reference to the Mario game that started my 3D Mario adventure; Throwback Galaxy AKA Thwomp’s Fortress from Super Mario 64. At the time, my favorite single player game of all time was Super Mario Galaxy 1, but in basically every way Super Mario Galaxy 2 was better. It was almost like DLC for Galaxy 1, as there was no overlap in the two experiences. It was just the addition of some really awesome levels. Sure, you may fight a boss again in Galaxy 2 that you already fought in Galaxy 1, but you’re using a different power up, so it’s a different strategy involved.

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There was a countdown on Nintendo’s web page for Super Mario Galaxy 2’s release date, but after it reached zero, it started going up. I recorded this video of peoples’ reactions.

I actually had a bit of trouble securing a system to play this game on. As it turned out, my friend Jonah had become fed up with me borrowing his Wii System for so long a period of time, so I couldn’t actually use his anymore. For some reason, my friend Nick’s Wii wouldn’t work with the game either. For a while, my only solution was bringing Galaxy 2 and an SD card around with me wherever I went, playing whenever I could use someone’s Wii. This process was ridiculously slow, so after getting about 70 stars this way, I realized that I really needed my own Wii to fully complete the game. Around this time, a new edition of the Wii surfaced.

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The (second) best Wii System ever
The actual best Wii System ever, owned by the Queen of England
The best Wii System ever is actually the Royal Wii, which is owned by the Queen of England.

I had held myself back from asking for a Wii system for a long time, but it felt like the time was right to ask for one for Christmas. Not only did I want it to play Galaxy 2 but also to play the Zelda game for Wii that would be coming out (Skyward Sword). I had just finished the existing Zelda Series that summer while my Galaxy 2 progress was in a halted state. So, I asked my mom for the Black Wii System, and the first Christmas I came back from College, it was under the tree. I was worried that my dad wouldn’t be too happy about it, but he didn’t mind. In fact, that Christmas break, along with furiously playing through Galaxy 2 from scratch (I decided to start the game over), I taught him how to use Netflix. He was very impressed.

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I found this image, and I think it’s pretty funny that such a disc ever existed. Most people just downloaded the channel for free from the Wii Shop.

The first thing I did upon getting the Wii was boot up the Shop Channel. I had a 1000 Nintendo points card prepared for this moment, and so I redeemed it and bought PacMan. I then briefly played PacMan. This was done purely for the irony.

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Gotta save some quarters

Over winter break, as I said, I furiously played through Galaxy 2. I think I was exposed to BBC Radio for the first time during quite a bit of my play-through, as my dad had it playing loudly on the computer in the TV room. Mario isn’t a story driven game, so it can be enjoyable while multitasking, consuming two different types of entertainment at the same time. I played so much of this game that I got all 120 stars in the main story and started the Green Star second story.

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Essentially, there are 120 green stars hidden throughout 40 stages in the game, 3 per stage. It’s similar to how they would later appear in Super Mario 3D World, except that obtaining one in Galaxy 2 takes you out of the level immediately to save the fact that you got it, just like a regular star in the game. They’re hidden, but you can try to listen for the sound the stars make as you travel through each level, and use the number given to each star you obtain as a hint for what part of the level you should look for the other stars in. It always goes in order; 1 is first, 2 is second and 3 is third. If you find Star 1, all the other stars are after the part of the level you found it in, and so on.

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It seems that I played about 45 hours of Galaxy 2 that week, but that wasn’t quite enough to finish the game, just because of the final level.

Now, I should probably mention that I beat this game entirely as Mario rather than Luigi. Maybe I have an excuse to revisit this game some day as Luigi. I’m still afraid of that final level though. The tool assisted speed run you just watched may have made it look like it was easy, but it was not.

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According to the calender in the data of my Wii, I played the game on March 15th during a vacation after returning to college on January 2nd. I played for hours trying to beat the final level, but it wasn’t until March 16th that I finally cleared it. Throughout the entire game I tried not to be nervous, because I knew that being nervous can cause one to make mistakes, but in the final seconds of the final level my heart started beating intensely of its own accord, and yet I still succeeded! It was a thrilling moment for me.

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Super Mario Galaxy 2 is now available to purchase on the Wii U eshop for $19.99. If you have time to play the game, I highly recommend it.

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As always, Thanks for Reading! =)