The storm is picking up strength. Curtains of rain and sinewy stretches of yellow lightning. Amidst this he stands, focused and unfazed, his gaze fixated upon his target. Grim glowing eyes appear in the darkness. The katana swings. Down, they fall. Again. And again. His head bobs up in down in time with the beat of determination. He will return to the girl what is rightfully hers, no matter how difficult the task may be. Thunder, followed by a blinding flash of blue. Slash, slash. His drive is relentless and unwavering.
So far, Lady Luck has been on my side. While the journey up the mountainside has been treacherous for my opponents, it’s been nothing but smooth sailing for me. My good fortune is making me feel a bit cocky, truth be told. I roll the dice and land two 6s, which allows me to roll an additional time for a total of 17. At this rate the treasure will be mine in no time. See you later, suckers! I jog forward, thinking only of the gold waiting at the summit, when the unthinkable happens. The space I land on forces me to switch places with another player, landing me at the back of the pack! To make matters worse, the next roll finds me tumbling through the ground and into the belly of the volcano. I suppose this is what I deserve for acting so pompous. It’s going to take a lot of skill — and even more luck — to escape from here and reclaim the lead.
K.K. Slider never lets his fans down. Rain or shine, he kicks out the jams each and every Saturday night. This week, however, is a bit different. K.K. arrives at his usual venue only to find himself in the middle of a brawl involving what appears to be a grizzled soldier, a pink blob, a flatulent gnome, and a blue hedgehog in sneakers. Not necessarily the ideal conditions for a performance. Nevertheless, the show must go on! K.K. grabs his guitar, takes a breath, and dives right into rousing rendition of “Go K.K. Rider!”
Travis Touchdown has been out of the game for a while. Once the top-ranked assassin, he’s now dead last at position fifty-one on the list. Not good. Thankfully Travis possesses the skill and desire needed to once again climb the ladder and reign as number one, not to mention the smarts to realize he’s going to need some training to get back into fighting form. Travis visits Ryan’s Gym to boost his strength. Ryan has no qualms about showing how excited he is to help Travis with his training. Unfortunately for Travis, this means he has to dodge Ryan’s unwanted advances during the workout. Not one to back down from a challenge, Travis makes avoiding Ryan a part of the training and emerges even stronger as a result. Feeling confident, Travis exits Ryan’s Gym and makes a beeline to challenge — and defeat – the next-ranked assassin. That is, until he decides to make a pit stop at Area 51 to buy a new jacket so he can kill in style.
Luigi passes the ball off to Donkey Kong then makes a break for the hoop. Donkey Kong has been hot the entire game, so the opposing team decides to double up on the big ape. As soon as the ball is in DK’s hands, the Ninja and the Black Mage descend upon him, while the White Mage scurries to catch up with Luigi. This leaves Princess Peach wide open. What’s more, she’s in three-point territory. Donkey Kong makes an unexpected rush in the opposite direction to pick up a few coins before hurtling the ball to Peach. The Ninja and the Black Mage abandon Donkey Kong and sprint toward our fair princess. She only has moments to spare. Peach quickly sets up for the shot, takes aim, and releases. The shot’s angle seems a bit off, but out of nowhere Luigi appears in front of the basket. He grabs the ball mid-air and slams it through the rim. Alley-oop! And with the coins DK picked up, the score for the bucket goes up by three. Luigi showboats just a little then glances up at the brilliant starry sky before heading into position to prepare for the other team’s advance.
Judging by the fact that I earn $800 for each visitor I scare, the admission price to this haunted house must be astronomical! But I can’t sit and think about such monetary details – I’ve got a job to do. Even though my pay is amazing, the work is actually quite demanding. I’m in charge of frightening people in four zones of the haunted house, and I’ve got to hastily change my costume to fit the theme of each area. If I try scaring folks with the wrong get-up, the act just doesn’t work. I need to work quickly and intelligently, and I do my best to put on a good show for the paying visitors. At the end of my shift, I’ve scared the pants off a lot of people, earning me a cool $8,800. But there’s no time to sit and count my stack of cash. Instead, I need to head out to my other jobs. There are fish to catch, cows to milk, fabrics to sew, and crops to harvest… and these tasks won’t get finished unless I buckle down and get working.
Why did I bet so many stars? Not only did I come in last, but I failed to finish within the time limit, meaning that I was awarded no stars at all for my efforts. I guess this is what I get for being so cocky. After finishing first in the last few online races, I thought I was unstoppable, but a whole new group of challengers entered the competition, and I underestimated their skill levels. Truth be told, I was dominating for a big part of the race. But a timing goof on releasing my adorable mouse mech from spinning on a bar was costly and threw off my momentum. From there it all went downhill. I failed to kick the soccer ball into the goal, I missed when I threw the pie at the clown’s face, and every tree seemed to have my name on it. For the last portion of the race, it was nothing but crash, crash, crash. Humiliated, I left the lobby and proceeded to practice the courses a bit more offline. I’ll be back and ready for revenge — and I might just bring the intimidating spider mech, to boot!
Whoops. As the new barber in town, this is certainly not the way to earn the respect of my potential clients. Mr. Stickle the celery stalk came into my shop asking for a “bowler hat” hairdo, and a few stray snips of the scissors later, he’s looking worse than before I started. The good news is he hasn’t seemed to have noticed my mistake yet, so I still have the opportunity to set things right. I grab my spray bottle and give his mop top a few pumps of water. Voila! New foliage sprouts almost instantly. Now to shape it. I make sure to take extra precaution with my scissors and trim his leafy mane into just the shape he requested. He seems pleased with the results, but I decide to add just a bit of pizazz in the form of color. A dash of red, a streak of white… now he’s truly styling. Mr. Stickle is almost jumping out of the chair with glee and he gives me the highest honor a barber can hope for: a five star rating! If I keep this up my barber shop will be booming with business in no time.
From the pit we don’t have any real view of the course, but judging from the strange vehicles that keep rolling in for repairs, this may very well be the weirdest race ever. Luckily, my crew consists of six hardworking women who seem to live for me giving them directions about what parts of the racers they should fix. Without warning a massive toilet pulls into the pit and the ladies stand at the ready as the await my orders. I waste no time in divvying up the duties and my crew quickly and efficiently gets the toilet back in tip-top condition. The toilet speeds off to rejoin the race and we barely have a moment to catch our breath before a huge flowerpot on wheels zooms into the pit. A pit crew’s work is never done, it seems.
The relentless guitar is nearly deafening. Chug chug CHUG. Chug chug CHUG. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-chug CHUG CHUG. But for an unexpected moment its barking lets up. My truck just jettisoned off a ramp and is now soaring high above the track. The perpetual guitar riffing fades away and the sound of the wind can be heard. Everything is peaceful up here. Before long, however, the ground gets closer until soon enough my truck’s wheels hit the dirt and I continue to barrel forward. Chug chug CHUG. Chug chug CHUG. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-chug CHUG CHUG. It’s full speed ahead for both the truck and the guitar.