Life in a Game! by Enemy Crab Productions

3.31.2009

With This Herring

By Kent Steichman
Investigative Reporter

So, in case you haven't been out in awhile, it seems we're being invaded by aliens. Again. So, naturally, heroes of all shapes and sizes will be out and about fighting our would-be insectoid overlords, but why, I find myself wondering, do half of them seem to be heading into battle with nothing more than pistols and knives?

Granted, it's pretty reasonable for this to be the case with quite a few heroes, like your standard "brash youth who's rescuing his sister from the aliens" or the run-of-the-mill "cowboy cop that just got taken off the case."

But when the world's top marines and soldiers are being sent to fight a 20 foot scaled monstrosity that just stomped its way through France armed only with their sidearms and a Swiss army knife, I think there's something wrong there.

So, with this question in mind, I snuck across Ravenholm to the nearest resistance station, and asked one of the older guys who used to be in the military.

Why, I asked, were the world's soldiers always being sent into battle so ill equipped?

He just smiled and shook his head. "Well," he said as his radio crackled with status reports intermixed with frantic screaming, "We did used to send them out with the top of the line equipment, state of the art armor, and full fire support. Problem was, everyone we sent out like that just got slaughtered anyway."

That didn't make any sense, I protested, and he just shrugged. "Check the old intro sequences some time. It never fails, soldiers go out decked out in power armor and get creamed, but one lone soldier heading out with just a pistol and the shirt on his back wins every time."

He added, "Besides, they usually find some sort of alien weapon or vehicle that's miles ahead of what we would've given them anyway. It's just cheaper to send'em out with nothing and let them figure things out on their own. That way, if they do get pasted, at least you're not losing some million dollar power armor."

He sat up and adjusted the radio, listening to it for a moment before he continued. "Hell, I remember one guy, forget the name, he was stationed up on Mars. Whole installation gets taken over by demons or something, and he kicked their asses." He thought for a moment, "The chainsaw and the BFG probably helped, though."

I wanted to ask him a few more questions, but some explosions outside interrupted us. "Damn," he said, picking up a rocket launcher. "One of those damn walkers again. Where's that guy with the goatee when you need him?" he muttered as he ran out the door. I took the opportunity to get myself out of there, and maybe once these guys are dealt with, I'll see if I can get an interview with whatever space marine fought them off.

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3.22.2009

On the Edge of Extinction

By Kent Steichman
Investigative Reporter

Scientists from around the world have been baffled by the ongoing depopulation of several once-prominent species that take residence in the wildernesses all around the world. While the Dalmascan Wolf, the Cornerian Goblin, and various other wild animals once littered the terrain, now they've become incredibly scarce, with no readily discernable reason.

With the scientific community was at a loss for finding the explaination, I took it upon myself to look into what happened to these majestic creatures. First, I made my way to the Dream City, to see if anyone knew what caused the Goblins there to be put on the endangered species list back in '87. Aside from welcoming me to the city, repeatedly, and talking about some Light Warriors and orbs, nobody was any real help.

Since that was getting me nowhere, I called up some of the contacts I have in the scientific community. Dr. Light refused to answer my calls, but Professor Oak in Palette Town said one possibility was climate change. He added the local Pokemon populations hadn't changed much, though every once in awhile he'd find several concussed Rattatas when out on his morning walks.

For some reason, though, that explanation didn't really fit for me. After all, it seemed to happen in relatively isolated areas, and as I looked into it, the depopulations seemed to happen around other big events in the area. For example, the Dalmascan Wolves were nearly wiped out shortly after the new regent from the Archadian Empire took over the capital at Rabanastre.

I headed to the desert city to see if I could find anyone there that might know something. So, I asked around, starting with some of the soldiers stationed around the city. They said they had no idea what had happened to the Estersand's beasts, because, well, they didn't care. "What's a few wolves to you, mate?" they'd ask from behind those masks.

Honestly, I think they're just irritable because, well, they're wearing full plate mail in a desert, but I suppose they don't have much choice.

As I walked around the city, I noticed one of the vendors seemed to have an overabundance of wolf pelts, and I asked the merchant where he'd gotten his merchandise. After I slipped him a few gil, he told me he got most of the pelts from a young man named Vaan.

"It was right around that big party at the palace," he told me, "It was like something just possessed the poor lad. I mean, he used to just kill rats here and there down in the sewers, but one day, he just started hunting down the wolves outside the city, chasing'em down and whackin' 'em left and right."

He said Vaan had been a "good guy" before then, but of course the boy had some issues. His parents had both died years before, and his brother was killed during the war with Arcades. My informant speculated that the new governor's installation might have just pushed him over the edge.

"But hey, these pelts sell pretty well, so I ain't complaining," he added. I asked him how he could be so cavalier about the possible extinction of the local wildlife, and he said, "Eh, there's always a few more laying about," then asked if I wanted to buy some potions.

I tried tracking down this "Vaan," but nobody knew where he was. I doubt, though, that he's responsible for the other sets of endangered animals, unless he really gets around. And has a time machine. It may forever remain a mystery what's plaguing the creatures of the world.

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3.11.2009

Those Who Hunt Monsters

By Kent Steichman
Investigative Reporter

For many of us here, dying is just a fact of life. So long as it doesn't come at the hands of a major villain during a cutscene, most of us are back up on our feet with a quick Phoenix Down, or a trip to the inn, or a good old fashioned green mushroom.

This is something most of us take for granted, of course, but what about those who might see it as a curse? Sure, it helps us get on with whatever quest we're on, but what if you were the object of the quest? Think about it, if every day some ragtag bunch of adventurers came down to pry your rare sword from your cold dead hands, it would get old, wouldn't it?

So, to find out what it's like, I set off for Vana'diel. Journeying to the Dragon's Aery, I eventually found the notorious Fafnir. He was, well, less than pleased to see me.

"Is it that time again already?" the beast groaned as I approached, before looking at me critically. "Where's everyone else? You don't look like a hunting party. Hell, you don't even have a sword!"

He didn't seem to get it at first, but after explaining for a little while, I finally got it into his head that I wasn't there to kill him. I guess he doesn't have a subscription. Once I convinced him that I wasn't a threat (and more importantly, he didn't have to eat me), I asked him what it was like, being such a sought after boss.

"Well, it's not all bright sunny days," he said matter-of-factly. "Sure, I get plenty of time to myself, and I meet lots of interesting people, but they all want to kill me, and most of them do."

He waved a claw absently, "Sure, I can usually take down one or two of the stragglers, but it's gotten damned hard to wipe the little blighters out. They're persistent, anyway."

I asked him why he was so, ahem, popular. "Oh, it's this sword I've got. Called the Ridill. Those guys are nuts over it." I took a good look at Fafnir. I had to ask, just what did a 30 foot long dragon, without any hands to speak of, need a sword for?

"Bugger if I know," he said, rolling his eyes. "I know I can't use the thing, and believe me, I've tried. It won't fit in my claws, it's too small for my tail to wrap around it, and if I hold it in my mouth, I can't talk and I get all kinds of nasty cuts in there."

He paused, then gave a bitter chuckle, "Hell, sometimes I don't even have the thing. I try to tell the little bastards, tell'em they're wasting their time, but they don't listen. And then, once I'm dead and they get nothing out of the deal, they have the nerve to yell at me, as if it's my fault."

Fafnir sighed. "I don't even know where the thing comes from. I just respawn, and hey, there it is. Sometimes, I think, what if I set up a shop, just sell the things? But I only ever have one at a time, so that just won't work."

At this point, the doors opened, and a group of adventurers came in, staring down the dragon. "Oh, you'd better get going," Fafnir told me. "This is probably going to get ugly," he added with a bit of resignation as I filed out past the warriors, "Especially when they find out all they're getting today is a Dragon Talon."

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2.01.2009

Why Does Everything Explode?

By Kent Steichman
Investigative Reporter

So, tell me if this has ever happened to you: You're minding your own business, finishing up those last few TPS reports, when all of a sudden some otherwise well-meaning vigilante, secret agent, or superhero comes running through your office, and you find your surroundings suddenly exploding all around you.

So not only is your office now a wreck, but whatever you were working on went up in a ball of fire when a stray shot hit your work desk, including your desk and chair. But why does everything explode? This is the question I sought to answer, and my inquiries took me all the way to Russia.

First, I checked one of the nation's leading users of exploding furniture, dataDyne industries. CEO Cassandra DeVries, however, was not available to speak, the strange tall, blond man in a trench coat informed me when I tried to schedule a meeting. When I told him I simply wanted to know where they got their supplies, he directed me to one of their sales associates.

The woman I then spoke to told me they got their office supplies cheap by buying surplus goods that nobody else would buy, which surprised me more than it should have. Exploding desks can't really be a premium item, after all. I asked her if she knew why they exploded, but she said she had no idea. During our conversation, she mentioned she was due to get a new desk, which probably explained why she was so careful getting into and out of her chair.

She gave me the name of the supplier, which led me to an old warehouse in Severnaya. While looking around, I met an old Red Army officer who displayed burns on one side of his face from, as he put it, "A goddamn box just went off on me."

We toured the warehouse, and he finally explained just why everything seems to be combustible. Back during the cold war, when supplies were low, one multipurpose factory had, by way of a shipping mix up, received dozens of barrels of nitroglycerin instead of the petroleum they needed to put into plastics.

Since waiting for the appropriate materials to come would have taken too long, they simply used the nitro in place of the petroleum, which proved to be fairly stable unless exactly four bullets hit one of the items made.

The surviving items, ranging from packing boxes to crates to desks, televisions and radios, were sold and shipped throughout the Soviet Union and even to the United States. Sadly, there's no way to tell just which office supplies will explode or not, so unless you're sure, whatever you do, for God's sake never take cover behind a desk. That's just asking for trouble.

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1.13.2009

What's the Real Secret of the Mushroom Kingdom?

By Kent Steichman
Investigative Reporter

It's an age old story: Monster kidnaps princess, monster takes over kingdom, princess is rescued by an unlikely hero. But what's really behind this pantomime, and why does it seem to happen so darn often?


For years now, the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom have had to deal with their princess being "kidnapped," only to have a certain fat plumber bail her out. Since he's been able to beat Bowser so often, why, you may ask, doesn't he deal with him once and for all?


Well, I did ask, and the answers will surprise you.

As I began my investigation, the Mushroomians, of course, wouldn't hear anything against their "hero" Mario. "He's saved us so many times," they'd say. The Princess, of course, wouldn't speak to me except through her press secretary, who would only tell me to try one of the other castles.


It seemed my search would be in vain, until I was contacted by a small group with a grudge against Mario and the big bad Bowser himself. Under condition of anonymity, they told me the whole story.


The whole drama, they said, was just an act, concocted by Bowser, to get around the Mushroom Kingdom's notoriously strict drug laws. Between the "kidnappings," you'd be hard pressed to find so much as a Fire Flower on the streets of the Mushroom Kingdom.


But once Bowser's done his thing, you can't walk down Shiitake Street without tripping over Super Stars, Raccoon Leaves and Mushrooms of all shapes and sizes. For a few weeks while Mario is trying to "rescue" the Princess, all the dealers can go about their business.


And of course, my sources said, both the fat man and the princess are in on the scheme, skimming off the top while keeping their good public image in the eyes of the citizens. And isn't it obvious? Look at how friendly they seem to be most of the time. Go karting, golfing, playing soccer and tennis, like they're the best of friends. And just how do you suppose they pay for all of that extravagance?


My sources said that, once upon a time, Bowser even wanted to spread his scheme to the neighboring kingdoms, which eventually led to their falling out with the rest of the organization. Though they were successful in their "attack" on the other kingdoms, they couldn't get the rulers to buy into it, so Bowser abandoned them in favor of Bowser Jr.


I asked them if they'd considered testifying, but, they said, who can they go to, when those who are supposed to be looking out for the Kingdom are in on the plot? Their only hope, they said, was to leave the kingdom and start over.

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12.21.2008

Robbers Running Rampant!

By Kent Steichman
Investigative Reporter

Every city sees its share of crime, and as you astute readers know, there have been a rash of thefts in the last few weeks, with brash robbers barging into the homes of unsuspecting citizens to steal anything that isn't nailed down.

But what if there's more to this than meets the eye? And how can these people keep getting away with this brazen crime? Where are the police?

As usual, it was up to yours truly to investigate where others wouldn't, and what I found may shock you!

My search began in the quiet town of Kalm, which until some weeks ago, lived up to its name. But suddenly, a band of outlaws stormed into town, and rampaged through peoples' homes.
As one eye witness described it, "My wife was making dinner, and I was watching TV, when this weird guy, a hooker, and their strange orange dog just burst in the door!"

The family only looked on in shock as these brigands ran through the house. "They asked me if I'd seen a man in a black cloak, and when I said I hadn't, they went looking through the cupboards!" In all, these miscreants stole an Ether the man was saving, and a bolt ring that had been in his family for years.

And the police, despite solid descriptions and eye-witness accounts, have done nothing! A representative would only say that people should "learn to lock their damn doors!" and threatened to have me arrested.

Naturally, this only emboldened me. The people must know the truth! So I kept digging. The thieves in question have only grown in number since sweeping through Kalm, and everywhere they couldn't get information about this "black cloaked man," they responded by robbing the citizens blind!

Clearly, this black cloaked man was the key to the whole operation, but before I could find any information on him, I was contacted by someone who claimed to know the truth behind these crimes.

On the condition of anonymity, he spoke to me through an animatronic cat. And, according to him, these weren't thieves, but dangerous eco-terrorists! As to why the police have done nothing, he said that by letting them run rampant, they were leading the police to an even bigger threat: the mysterious black-cloaked man. "A few stolen Potions here and there are small potatoes compared to this."

Small potatoes? Tell that to little Timmy in Sector 5, whose father can't work because of an injury. The family had a Hi-Potion set aside for just such an occasion, but guess what happened to that!

So the police won't listen to your pleas, but now you know the truth! Lock your doors, hide your Potions, and hope that whatever this black cloaked man is, it's worth letting the good citizens suffer through this!

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