Monday Match-Ups: Peach vs. Zelda

Peach vs. ZeldaThe Setup

The boys at Pop Modern are back, rocking another Monday Match-Up, this time for all the girls out there. You see, we’re equal opportunists, we’re chivalrous, and we’re making it our duty to help womankind in the small way we can: by cleaning up the Google results for “Peach vs. Zelda” just a modicum. Yeah, we know, we’re heroes. No need to thank us, the half smile on your face is enough. Besides, we’re not going to pretend like the ladies out there need us to fight their battles for them, that’d be silly. That’s why we’ve got two Nintendo icons, so often sequestered and pushed to the side in their own games, taking the stage this week to let everyone know that they aren’t to be trifled with. So what’s the competition? Something heroic no doubt. Something daring. Something swashbuckling. Something adventurous. That’s why we’d like to ask you all this week…Who would win in a karaoke contest, Peach or Zelda?

The Contenders

Princess Peach: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Peach
Princess Zelda: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Zelda

The Verdicts

Allen: It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world picking an activity for these two lovely ladies of gaming. I feel like a rockin’ karaoke contest manages to stray away from stereotypes while still showcasing the talents of the contestants. Peach would probably be coming to Mushroom Kingdom’s hottest karaoke bar with a crew of Toads to cheer her on during the chorus of “Somebody To Love”. As the drinks start flowing and the earlybirds start filing out, a man named Sheik rolls in to the bar all by…himself? Herself? He stays in the audience, enjoying the show, chatting up the bartender. Right as it seems like the night is slowing down, he steps on stage, rips off the costume, and Princess Zelda begins into the smooth intro of “Don’t Stop Believing”. The crowd goes wild, Toads literally throwing their vests on stage. Peach has been defeated by this mysterious women in a karaoke battle, and she continues to rub it in with an ocarina solo during “Black Velvet”. Although she has won, it wouldn’t be very princess-like to be such a sore winner, so Zelda and Peach end the night with a teary duet of “I Need A Hero”. People still talk about that night, the night where two princesses took the stage, and the shy Hylian lady came out the winner.

James: Zelda has owned an ocarina in the past, and plays the harp. That will certainly help with her pitch and her rhythm. But what of Princess Peach? Whenever she is captured by Bowser, she is taken away from her people and left to sit in World 8-4 until Mario can come along. With all that free time, sitting in a castle with only a few books on Goomba Horticulture or the ornithology of Paratroopas, she would be left with free time to sing. Zelda still has the ability to interact with other people, so her princessly duties would have to go first. So even though Zelda is by far the superior musician, it seems apparent to me that the winner of this karaoke competition is Princess Peach. Then again, I am not entirely sure that karaoke can be a competition, but then again, neither character can really speak, so who am I to judge?

Magellan: Finally, a little girl power in these Monday Match-Ups! Sure, the contest could have been a bit more empowering, like a sword-fight or a presidential debate or something, but at least we’re not turning these oft-distressed damsels into a couple of Cooking Mamas. Anyway, let’s get to the meat of this question, and talk about what it takes to be good at a karaoke contest. You’ve got to have pipes, of course, but karaoke is also about being comfortable in your own skin and being able to perform. Zelda’s been shown to have some vocal talent (I believe she sang a song in Skyward Sword) and a penchant for musicianship, but the sort of music you see in a Legend of Zelda game isn’t going to translate well to the karaoke stage. Besides, she’s a fairly reserved, dignified princess, and I don’t know if she’d be able to let loose the way she’d need to in order to really blow people away. Peach, on the other hand, has shown time and time again that she’s willing to step up to the plate, get her hands dirty, and compete with the best of them whenever a competition demands. Peach also strikes me as much less socially inhibited, as she’s been to her fair share of Mario’s parties (which, as we all know, can get pretty wild). I don’t know about you, but it’s much easier for me to picture Peach throwing her head back and belting out “Rock You Like a Hurricane” while prancing around the stage, whereas Zelda would at best be able to muster a shy, reserved rendition of “I Love Rock And Roll.”

The Results

Peach wins 2-1

There you have it everybody, a completely polite and in no way subtly, unavoidably sexist competition. On a serious note, we hope you all forgive the rampant lampshading that’s been going on, it’s just hard to talk about any sort of “Video Game Princess vs. Video Game Princess” contest without snickering at least a little. Of course, if you object to us in any way, be it for our flawed logic or our undying, slovenly devotion to the global Patriarchy, make yourself heard in the comments below. That, or vote in our poll. You can do that, you know, it’s in the Constitution now.

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Three By Three: Video Game Companions

Video Game CompanionsThe Category

Wednesdays are always rough, but luckily we have those special somebodies to get us through. Those people who are always by our side, who stay with us through thick and thin, who listen to our problems, who help us mow down hoard after hoard of robots, zombies, and whatever other wacky road blocks life throws at us. That’s right, this week we’re talking about our favorite video game companion characters (sorry, Mom, the squiggly Tetris block doesn’t count). Take a look at our right-hand people, our real friends.

The Choices

Allen

Garrus from the Mass Effect series: One of my favorite things about the Mass Effect series is how you can tell every major character has an entire life story written out for them that led them to Commander Shepard. Garrus Vakarian, the Turian cop on the Citadel who joins your crew in the first game, is no exception. His armor, stride, and just the general badass aura that surrounds him pretty much guaranteed that I brought him on every mission with me. Whether you’re fighting Saren, listening to him talk of endless calibrations, shooting targets off of a bridge for fun, or even comically trying to copulate with him as a female, the relationship between Shepard and Garrus feels the most grounded in a game series about fighting evil apocalypse aliens.

Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins: I wouldn’t argue that Bioware creates some of the best companions in gaming, but they’re definitely making big strides since the days of generic servants and faceless companions from older PC RPGs. I’m mostly just a fan of mature male characters that don’t feel overly macho or boring. Alistair’s homosexuality is handled with such a deft hand that it’s almost hard to notice it until he flat out tries to flirt with the main male player character, but he’s also more than just a sexual preference. He’s endlessly loyal, incredibly useful as the main tank in combat, and witty in a way that is neither grating or pretentious in this massive RPG.

Agro from Shadow of the ColossusI hope I’m not the only one that realized that we’re not necessary limited to RPG companions, right? Amongst the million other things that Shadow of the Colossus does that both pushed the action genre forward and flipped it on its head, it also manages to make you care about your silent equine travel companion. Agro and the player learn together, they travel the verdant fields together, and they work together to slay the hulking beasts that have cursed the princess. It’s a classic animal friendship, but the fact that nobody speaks a single real word in the game enhances the feeling that Agro and the player are observers to the massive beasts that lay before them. Agro shows that a good companion doesn’t have to be chatty or witty, they just have to be there.

James

The dog from Fable II: One of the best companions I have ever had in a video game. True the dog rarely interacted directly with the character, but the interactions were fantastic. Throughout the entirety of the game, the one constant in the world was this companion, and losing the dog at the end of the story was the most heart-wrenching loss I have ever felt in a game.

Serena from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: A character added in the Dawnguard expansion, Serena is one of my favorite NPCs. Serena has a great backstory with plenty of depth to it, a backstory that not only makes sense, but also allows for the use of her special powers. As a companion she proves witty and capable, a suitable match for the Dragonborn.

Dog from Half-Life 2: The perfect companion for the silent Gordon Freeman. This lovable silent giant provides the brawn to Freeman’s brain. From playing fetch to destroying Combine drop ships, the colossal robot tags along with the best of companions, blindly and faithfully destroying Combine property. Truly there can be no better friend.

Magellan

Bastila Shan from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Let’s get this out now: I’m a Star Wars fan. Hard-core. I’m also a big fan of role-playing games. Imagine my glee at the prospect of a Star Wars RPG where you control one of the most powerful Jedi in history (stick with me, here), where one of the companions you run around with is a brunette Jedi prodigy with a British accent and a double-bladed lightsaber. Enter Knights of the Old Republic and Bastila Shan. Sure, this choice is me giving into my old fourteen-year-old crushes and biases, but Bastila’s relationship with the protagonist and her character arc is still one of the most compelling parts of my favorite video game of all time.

Yoshi from the Mario series: First appearing in Super Mario World in 1990 and serving as Mario’s loyal steed on numerous occasions since then, Yoshi has steadily established himself as an inextricable fixture of the Mario universe. The defining characteristic of any good companion should be reliability, and Yoshi has that in spades. Beyond that, unlike most video game sidekicks, Yoshi has been able to turn that good will into games of his own and cameo appearances in all variety of silly Mario sports spin-offs, from Mario Tennis to Mario Curling (probably).

Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The annoying fairy from Ocarina of Time? The one that keeps shouting “Hey!” at me and telling me to “Listen!”? Yes. That annoying fairy. Calm down, I know, I gripped the weird side-prongs of my N64 controller in pre-pubescent frustration too. But looking back now, being annoyed at Navi is one of my favorite video game-related jokes. I’ll do the voice, I’ll shout “Link!” and “Watch Out!” at Allen and James to get them to chuckle (or punch me, as the case may be). Navi may not have been a great companion at the time, but she’s like some crazy ex that you can’t help but tell horror stories about. That, and Navi paved the way for future Legend of Zelda companions to come (like Midna from Twilight Princess) that were much more developed and interesting.

The Conclusion

Enjoy our choices? Enraged that you didn’t see your favorite? Ever hear “You Raise Me Up” playing in your head while Tails flies you around in the Angel Island Zone? Explain why you agree or disagree below, and let us know what your favorite video game companions are. (Expecting a lonely afternoon? Entertainment and company: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrlMgejvcfE).