Sunday, April 23, 2017

Geekdom Madness 2017 - The Real Game: Sparkles/Big Mamas

Welcome to Geekdom Madness: The Real Game! Once again, our combatants have made it through the preliminaries and are now fighting for spots in the Quarter-Final! This week we have some dooseys, so let's get to it!

Let's reacquaint ourselves with the combatants:

MATCH 1: Sparkles


Terra Branford was created by Yoshinori Kitase for the 1994 video game "Final Fantasy VI" (which was originally released in the United States as "Final Fantasy III" as many of the early series installments did not receive a localization at the time). Her design was finalized by Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.

Originally a male character and a partner/rival to the thief character Locke Cole, the character ran away from the developers first becoming a woman, then having the blonde hair in her concept art changed to green in the game sprites, then becoming the closest thing to a main protagonist in a game that was meant to have none. In Japan, her name is "Tina", as to their audience it sounded "exotic". The American localization team changed it to Terra as "Tina" is hardly exotic in the States.

"Final Fantasy VI" remains at or near the top of most "Best Final Fantasy game" lists, with Terra as arguably its most recognizable character. The original video game had no voice acting, though some characters had a sound-effect "voice" for certain moments and Terra was given a screeching wail when she first transformed into her Esper form. In the fighting game spinoff "Dissidia: Final Fantasy" and its sequels, Terra was voiced by Yukari Fukui in Japanese and Natalie Lander in English.


Mabel Pines was created by Alex Hirsch for the 2012 animated series "Gravity Falls". Originally an 11-minute student film Hirsch made at Cal-Arts, it was pitched to the Disney Channel and picked up to the surprise of nearly everyone involved. It is inspired by Hirsch's real-life childhood summer trips mixed with "X-Files" - like supernatural elements and "Twin Peaks" - style weirdness.

Mabel is an (apparently only barely) exaggerated caricature of Hirsch's own twin sister, Ariel. The boundless enthusiasm, rabid fangirlism, penchant for odd sweaters, and life goal of owning a pet pig all came from Ariel. Originally she was to be portrayed with orthodontic headgear before it was switched to more subtle braces.

The show had a massive following and is considered one of the best modern children's cartoons for its zany humor, complex plot, and real human drama. The show was ended after two seasons by Hirsch himself who felt the story had ended, though he's "open" to limited future continuation.

Mabel is voiced by comedienne Kristen Schaal, of whom Hirsch said " I knew from the get-go that it's got to be Kristen Schaal or there's no show. I would've just stopped working. If we hadn't gotten her, I would have probably quit." Schaal thoroughly enjoyed the role, saying of all the characters she has played, Mabel is the closest to who she really is.


MATCH 2: Big Mamas


Toriel was created by Toby Fox for the 2015 video game "Undertale", though Toriel is among the characters that appeared in the 2013 free demo of the game used to promote the Kickstarter campaign to fund the remainder. An updated version of this demo is the final game's opening sequence. The game's tagline is "The Friendly RPG Where Nobody Has to Die", and is thus notable for having nonviolent resolution options to its battles.

Toriel is both a parody of annoying tutorial characters in video games (hence the pun in her name) and Fox's comment on the lack of mothers playing large roles in video games.

In the short time since its release, "Undertale" has become one of the most critically-acclaimed video games in the history of the medium (though a sizeable hatedom also exists, largely due to hype backlash). Toriel is one of the more recognizable characters and has earned the fandom nickname "Goat Mom". Characters do not have voiced dialogue in the game, but each has a specific sound effect "voice" as words fill their dialogue boxes; Toriel's is a soft, feminine bleating.


Rexie (sometimes "Rexy") was created by Micheal Crichton for his 1989 novel "Jurassic Park". The attempt was to show as scientifically accurate a Tyrannosaurus rex as possible, though some artistic license was taken and science has marched on in the intervening decades.

While definitely an opposing force and a major threat in many sequences, being a large, hungry predator, she was not by any means the main antagonist of the novel, even amongst the dinosaurs.

Due to the enduring popularity of tyrannosaurs in general, Rexie was the showstopper in the 1993 film adaptation by Steven Spielberg. She was brought to life by a combination of cutting edge computer animation from Industrial Light and Magic and two life-sized animatronics from Stan Winston studios. Artist Mark "Crash" McCreery finalized Rexie's anatomical design with input from paleontologists Mark Hallett, Robert Bakker, and Gregory S. Paul.

The vocalizations of Rexie and the other film tyrannosaurs were created from animal recordings taken by Gary Rydstrom. The most famous roar is a manipulated trumpet of a baby elephant, and other sound layers include alligators, big cats, whales, and Buster Rydstrom (Rydstrom's Jack Russel Terrier).

As in the novel, Rexie was not meant to survive in the original film, but director Speilberg decided the ending needed a lot more grandeur, and thus staged the now-famous sequence of Rexie dispatching the Velociraptors. While the tyrannosaurs in the first two sequels were different individuals, Rexie herself would memorably return in "Jurassic World".


Final Verdict
A part of me wishes this was the Semi-Final rather than the first round of the Real Game. I hate to see any of these characters go this early. But, it is what it is.

As always, make sure you're viewing the WEB version of the site and vote in the polls on the right-hand side of the screen. Polls close Friday at 5:00 p.m., and results posted on Saturday. Feel free to discuss your picks in the comments below.

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