This is Captain Gamer, superhero and columnist. On the side, he works at a five star restaurant called the Pixel Palace, substituting for the regular bartender Dominic when needed. There, Captain can meet his old video game friends when they come in to have a drink. Sometimes, they share stories and even secrets. For as we all know, what the bartender hears is confidential... isn't it?
So there I am tending bar when in walks someone we all know: Peppy Hare, from the Star Fox team. Well, formerly Star Fox if you only count the main four. He's seen his share of dogfights, but this evening he's looking more worn-down than usual. So I ask him, "Evening, Mr. Hare. Long day?"
And he's clearly in his own world a little bit, which I feel reinforces my gut check. He figures out what he wants and says aside, "An aileron roll..."
He mutters it so I'm not quite clear, I say, "Pardon?" Still trying to read the mood.
"An aileron roll!" He repeats. A little louder, to put it mildly. "Fox did an aileron roll when I clearly told him to do a barrel roll! A... Barrel roll!" he repeats, tracing out the path of an honest-to-goodness barrel roll.
Now, anybody who knows their Nintendo knows about that classic line "Do a barrel roll!" I mean, the truth about it is all over the Internet but I'll set it up. In the Star Fox games, they show a barrel roll as being a pure rotation. The vehicle spins in place. And anybody who played the game never really questioned it. Myself included! But then people came forward and showed us the real barrel roll is a more complex maneuver where the plane stays moving in one direction and travels into a circle going by latitude, making a helix shape with its path. If I'm not explaining it well enough, you can look it up online. Bottom line, that's a barrel roll and what you do in Star Fox is actually an aileron roll. And it seems Peppy is bothered by that.
I have Peppy's drink all ready and he has to down it before he goes on, he says, "I play that moment over and over and over. Fox McCloud, the flying prodigy. And he can't even tell the difference between a barrel roll and a aileron roll. But no, Fox is the hero. It has to be me who's wrong. The old codger. The senile coot!"
I'm taken aback. I didn't know the whole controversy really got to him so much! Putting two and two together, I ask him, "You're saying Fox made a mistake?"
"That's exactly what I'm saying!" Peppy says, and he pauses. "No. It wasn't a mistake. He'd actually have to be aware of the difference. And that's just the tip of the iceberg on how little he actually knows."
"Let me get this straight," I say to him, "You're telling me that Fox McCloud is a bad pilot?"
He shakes his head and says, "Nah, not bad. Just inexperienced. A real greenhorn who thinks he's better than he actually is. Any of the rest of us could fly circles around him." I wonder if he also means Slippy and he cuts me right off, following up with "Especially Slippy! Slippy's a genius. Able to think ahead two, three, five steps ahead of anyone else! How do you think he gets into trouble so often and in all these creative ways?"
We're getting off-topic, but I just have to know, "Why would Slippy purposely get himself in trouble if he's so good?"
Peppy throws a finger at the ground and says, "Fox. That little prince needs positive reinforcement every step of the way. Otherwise he just folds up and isn't worth the skin on his nose." He's shaking his head, looking more sad by the second. "He doesn't even know how to not fly in a straight line most of the time. God knows how many times we've had to shove things out of his way and blow down walls just so he doesn't stay the course through them."
As I'm listening, I'm starting to notice the trend here, so I tell him, "That's what this is about, isn't it? The aileron roll was just a small part of the bigger issue of Fox."
He says, "Ahhh, you're right. It's just a bother. The rest of the team flies around destroying the whole enemy fleet and Fox is just cruising through like it's a walk through the park. We have to work together to bring down the enemy so they pass through his line of sight and he has something to do."
I ask him, "Is that something you should be doing? Putting all the work into leading Fox on while the fate of the Lylat System is at stake?"
Peppy says, "Actually, it wasn't. Turns out that the bad guys in our neck of the woods are just... terrible. All the armies we've been up against don't have two brain cells to rub together. The only reason they get anything done is because Corneria's resources are horded by the one percent. It's a big ol' Benny Hill episode up there and competence is like a superpower."
He's made his point and there's a lull in the conversation. But we both knew this whole thing begs more questions. So I let him have a bit and come back after a few minutes and I say, "So, Fox is a subpar pilot and the rest of you could save the day all by yourself. What I want to know is why you're going through hoops for Fox in the first place." Peppy's squirming on the seat, but now he's got my ire a little bit. I tell him, "Peppy, listen. You came in here because of how you're the butt of the barrel roll joke, and now you're telling me that what's causing this ridicule is something that you are deliberately doing. And from the sound of it, still ongoing! Pardon me, but not all the pieces are fitting, here. What's really going on?"
He mulls it over. Clearly he's never encountered this issue head-on. But he comes around and he says, "He's James's son." That is, James McCloud, the leader of the old Star Fox team. "And James, he's the real deal. Best pilot I've ever known, best friend I ever had. It's obvious that Fox takes after his father's love of flying, but he's just not there yet. He has the charisma, I'll give him that. Really takes to the leadership role. And the way he flies in a straight line most of the time does the confuse enemies into thinking it's part of some formation."
"It isn't?" I ask. That had been my assumption.
"It isn't," he repeats, "It's just Fox not knowing much outside of his games and simulations. When all you know is a seat in front of a screen, of course you're only going to know so much! The real kicker is that he actually got good at the flying-in-a-straight-line thing. He finds something, it's gone. But that doesn't really help when he only sees two percent of the total enemy fleet, tops."
Makes sense. And a thought occurs to me, I say, "Not to take any side, but Fox does take out the boss in the end, doesn't he?"
Peppy puts on this face like I found his missing sock, he yelps, "Yeah! I mean, no. That. That is the real kicker. Remember how I said that the enemy is bad? They're also stupid. For whatever reason, flagships feel compelled to follow Fox's example! They could come behind him, Fox would never know what hit him. They could take him from the side, he couldn't fight back. But no! They fly up and over, get directly ahead of him, turn around, and fly backwards while staying in pace. It's impressive that they can pull that off, but why in high heaven do they do that? It makes no sense to anybody!"
The obvious answer is because it's a video game, but I'm not going to say that. You have to admit, to something within that world, it is an odd way to fight when in planes.
Peppy's tuckered out by his ranting, he says, "All of it comes together to give Fox way more confidence than even any good pilot should have. He bites off more than he can chew and only gets through with our help, he takes damned fool risks, and just in general, compared to any decent, rational pilot, he doesn't know any better."
Those are some pretty harsh words. But I've seen enough movies to know where this is going.
I mentally give him to the count of three, and he finishes with "... and that's why we need him." I figure he's headed there.
I ask him, "So it's not that Fox is inferior, it's that he thinks differently?"
"I wouldn't go that far," he says back, "Remember, this is the kid who mixed up a barrel roll. But I have to admit, he really saves the day sometimes. The original Lylat wars would have been a bloodier and more ruinous one if not for Fox. His concept of falling back and holding off are nearly non-existent. So many times, more people would have died and cities crumbled entirely if Fox didn't just get in there to put a stop to it. I remember when we found the way to Andross's lair. I was calling Corneria for backup and not two seconds later, Fox was in. The rest is history."
Now I'm watching Peppy and he's really enjoying himself listing off those memories. So I tell him, "You know, all these things you're saying. I'm thinking these are things you should be telling Fox. What you're doing for him, it's way too one-sided. You've been wingmates for a while now. You've seen his potential. You owe him the truth. Just about as much as he owes you an apology for the barrel roll debacle."
He mulls over it for a bit and comes back, "Yeah. Yeah, you're right. I've been thinking about doing it. Connecting with him that way. He's certainly saved the universe enough times that he can take some criticism. But I saw this one drawing of me as a demented has-been saying 'barrel roll' all the time and it just set me off."
I wave it off, I tell him, "People on the Internet are going to say what they want. I'm sure if you get up-front with Fox and the rest of the team, you'll stop caring about what other people say. Maybe you can own it so it stops being a pain."
"Wouldn't hurt," he says.
And then, perfectly timed. Peppy's phone goes off. The ringtone is a remix of that Dschinghis Khan song "Moskau" that you hear in the Internet all the time. It's an 8-bit remix with the lyrics replaced by Peppy's "do a barrel roll" voice clip. Real fast, Peppy snatches up his phone. He confirms a few things with the person on the other end. Just as quick, he puts the phone away like it's going to ring again. And I'm just staring at him, being a smug little worm about it the whole time.
"It's catchy," he says.
I say back, "It is."
You see a lot of strange things as a bartender. You see a lot of strange things at the Pixel Palace. So, I see a lot of strange things as a bartender at the Pixel Palace. And that's no lie. Swear to it.
Video Game Confessions featuring Captain Gamer: Peppy Hare
Based off of Doug Walker's "Video Game Confessions" series at That Guy with the Glasses.
Based off of Doug Walker's "Video Game Confessions" series at That Guy with the Glasses.
A series in which I take my own crack at the Video Game Confessions formula with Captain Gamer as the bartender. My style gives video game characters more relatable issues with generally positive outcomes. However, don't count out the occasional zany and tongue-in-cheek moments that the original is known for!
Cammy White - captain-gamer.deviantart.com/a…
Poison - captain-gamer.deviantart.com/a…
Shit dog, I'm a male but i would not refuse peppy. if he wants my ass that nigga can have it
admit it, homie: this episode WAS inspired by the Fox McCloud vs. Bucky O'Hare Death Battle, wasn't it? (LOL) be it as it may, it's another grand take of yours into the VGC formula which I still declare: if only there was a way to show these to Doug Walker & his crew to bring back that segment... yes, you're THAT good! keep up the great work! PS= still working on both Cammy's & Poison's VGC-style artpieces. been quite busy with work, not to mention the holidays. now, I'll need to add this one as well, but it WILL get done, I promise!
I have to admit, that video did get Star Fox on my mind. It made me remember certain comics that I've always wanted addressing. And no better way than to have Peppy himself weigh in.
Your kind words about my writing are always recognized and appreciated. I'm not so sure that my style would be so well received. But then again, I can't really speak for anybody else.
As much as I'm looking forward to what those art pieces are going to look like, there's no obligation for any haste. Just make sure you're having fun while doing them and it'll be all i could ask for.