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[Sam van der Meer is here to talk to you about mushrooms. No, he’s not referring to psychedelic mushrooms. We’re not here to talk about something that might prompt you to run around at midday in a public park, wearing only your underwear, while laughing hysterically, scaring every innocent family around you. There may or may not have been seven cops chasing you too. Who really knows, in this most hypothetical of situations?
The important thing to remember here is that these are completely wholesome, totally-not-drug-related mushrooms that just happen to be in video games. There’s definitely nothing illegal going on here, I swear. – Kevin]
So, I was making quiches (as someone who essentially eats once a day for dinner, an entire six-inch-across quiche is something I will personally and entirely devour, prompting those “quiches” for other members of my household.) the other night, which is in itself a bit of a lie. My mom, bless her, makes the crust. I can’t bake for diddly. I do the eggs and cheese proportions and the caramelized onions …
and saute the mushrooms.
That’s literally the impetus for this list you find yourself currently ensnared in. You’re trapped in my mire ofabsolute nonsenseyet again, yourself and that itchy trigger finger of yours the only ones to blame. But, also sort of a lie, I recently startedDragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Illusive Age – Definitive Edition(“Say my name”) and came across these devils, which got the ‘ol noodlethinkin’.
And, you know what happens when we let Sam think.
But really, mushrooms. I like to eat them, and I like to look at them. I also like video games, and it just so happens that video games feature a whole lot of great mushrooms. So, without further ado…
The Ramblin’ Evil Mushroom fromEarthBound
I mean, you didn’t think Iwouldn’tmentionEarthBound, did you? Especially when we’re talking about mushrooms in video games (for some reason; I’m so sorry) andespeciallywhen my beloved features one of the more iconic fungal fiends in gaming. The Ramblin’ Evil Mushroom is a jerk, straight up. It gases you, like many of these shrooms do, and inverts the heck out of your controls.
That’s a jerk move, Mushroom.
I’m not going to make this post any attempt on my part to dissect video game theory —as if I could come up with one!However,the Ramblin’ ‘Shroom’s reversal of your controls is sort of in keeping withEarthBound‘s MO, no? For a game that so often reaches beyond the confines ofthe screen, nudging the player directly and addressing theironyof it all, an enemy who directly affects player control is pretty fourth wall-breaking, I’d say.
Super Mushroomfrom some game
Stick around these parts long enough and you’ll start to realize Nintendo has quite a fondness for fungi. Look, this is about as obligatory an inclusion as you’re bound to find in a list about mushrooms in video games. Mario’siconic choice of sustenance and the player of just about anyMariotitle’s eternal aspiration, the Super Mushroom is the King of All Mushrooms. TheDonofChampignon.
The sheer recognizability of the Super Mushroom is something I think most artists and multinational companies woulddreamof, with mushrooms at large associated by many with our favorite Japanese Italian plumber, who is in turn tantamount to thinking of Nintendo.
There’s also something remarkably comforting about the Super Mushroom’s singular motivation. Entering this world and charging ahead, whether it’s directly into Mario to be gnashed anddigested, or off of a cliff into that final rest. The Super Mushroom doesn’t give afuckabout things, and in this climate of political tomfoolery and Reese’s Pieces putinsideReese’s Cups, sometimes one can only move forward with a happy-go-lucky attitude of apathy. We should all strive to be a little more Super Mushroom.
Second Cousin Kinoko fromWe ♥ Katamari
TheKatamari Damacygames are factually among the greatest things the medium has given us. They blessed us further with Kinoko, everyone’s favorite second cousin who first appeared inWe ♥ Katamari. She’s great, really. A really dry wit at parties and generally someone who doesn’t try to put on an act for public appearances, but not pretentious or anything. She alsolovesBowie and makes a great chocolate chip cookie. Kinoko is the kind of second cousin youactually gravitate towardswhen you hit a funeral or other big family event.
Speaking ofKatamari, shout out to the Space Mushroom planet in general, the gathering place for The Prince and all his cousins. They just hang there. On a mushroom.
Pax fromMushroom Men: The Spore Wars
Fact: I have not played eitherMushroom Men: The Spore WarsorMushroom Men: Rise of the Fungi. Also fact: I’m perusing eBay in an effort to add to my backlog in order to right this egregious wrong.
Did you know Leseffin’Claypool did the score forMushroom Men? How wild is that!
I digress. (Do I really though?) Pax is a mushroom protagonist in a game series that includes the word “mushroom” in its very title. Of freaking course he’s on this list. Look at ‘im! … It’s about all I can say in trying to flesh out this chunk of this failed comedy sketch that is my life. I haven’t played the games. Pax might be a jerk.
Clickers fromThe Last of Us
“That’s cheating, Sam, clickers aren’treallymushroom people,really… ”might be something you’re thinking. Oh, I’m sorry, did you exclude the horrifyingly-mangled victims of cordyceps? Oh,sorry.Yourlist about the Greatest Mushrooms in Video Gaming must besomuchbetter. Please!Let me learnfromyourlist.
I’m sorry, I’m not actually being petty, it’s just a bit.
But, actually, clickers are some of the best enemies to come about inallof the seventh console generation. This is the first time I’ve thought that, but yeah, I’m sticking to those words I just typed. I don’t evenlove The Last of Us. Although, I am eager to try to learn to love it with a replay, “soonish.” Still, the clickers are instantly iconic. They’re creepy, man. They’re the remnants of a person overtaken byshrooms. Don’t do drugs, kids!
Puffstools and Mushroom Pikmin fromPikmin
I have a real traumatic past with these guys.
Here I am, a veritable child (physically, at this time, not just mentally) playingPikmin. Havin’ a ball, as one does. Along comes a puffstool in Olimar’s path. Alone, without our pikpik-looking compansions, we approach. The puffstool huffs and puffs and releases its spores to no effect.“Neat!”I say to myself, and go about my business.
Returning, pikmin in tow, I approach the puffstool. It huffs and it puffs andgood lord, they’re killing me.They’re killing me.The puffstool’s spores, so obviously filtered by Olimar’s suit, induce a catastrophic effect upon my complicit companions, transforming them into “mushroom pikmin.” These pikmin, deranged and zonked out of their little freakin’minds,turn on Olimar in a PCP-like haze of adrenaline and bloodlust. It’s pretty wild.
Celestial Emissary fromBloodborne
Is he a mushroom? Is he ahe?For our purposes, I won’t pigeon-hole that glorious bluestallioninto a single gender. Also, for our purposes,the Celestial Emissary is a goshdarn mushroom becauseI say she is.
I mean look at him! Look at all of those little mushroom guys she sends out at you!Droves of little mushroom men and women, just swingin’ and pawin’ at you because they’ve justgottadefend their god!
So, I’m not going to lie, it’s been about five years since I played and lovedBloodborne. Any semblance of comprehensivelore-lookin’has left my brain via the left-eardrum, so as always, I’m riffin’ here. It’s a vague memory, but you know what? That’s a big alien mushroom friend-o (except not), and she’sspeakin’to me.
Also, definitely a cousin of:
Every Darn Mushroom-thing inHollow Knight
Hollow Knight‘s aesthetic is just the best thing ever — glad we can agree — and all of the Fungal Wastes are positivelyripefor this list. Could I just say “the Fungal Wastes are one of the ten greatest mushrooms in video games?” Sort of likeEgo? Just a big, collectively-sentient mass of mushrooms?
Anyway, yeah, the mushrooms inHollow Knightown. Look at those guys! They’re gonna hurt youonly because you violate their home.Mushrooms look out for other mushrooms.
Then there’s Mister Mushroom, the mumbling-grumbling macguffin ofHollow Knight‘s multiple endings.Hollow Knightis too good. It’stoopowerful.
Alright, that’s it. Sorry for wasting your time.
[*I started to write this up before the world started to go totally screwy, so if that does or doesn’t say much about how utterly insignificant a post this is, I’m glad it did or did not help!]