TBT #13 – Cleveland: Traitors to King James

Originally posted to my Facebook page on July 10, 2010.

This post was a ton of fun to write.

As can be expected, I am not someone you’d consider to be a “sports fan”.  That said, when basketball great LeBron James revealed live on ESPN that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and going to Miami to play for the Heat, not even I could avoid hearing about it.  Everyone in Cleveland went absolutely bonkers at the revelation, and a majority of people came to hate James for making what turned out to be a wise business decision.  Of course, that’s all water under the bridge–he came back to Cleveland after winning two championship titles with the Miami Heat, and as of this writing, looks poised to help bring such a title to his hometown, as well.  He’s the hero again, and all is well.

Still, I was shocked at how crazy people had become over the decision of a man (the right decision, again) whose achievements or failures would never truly impact their lives in any material or meaningful way–and so, I wrote this article as satire.

The comments as received on the original post are below.  In many ways, they are the best part.  Shout outs to Jeffrey Holloway of Fictosphere.com for back-up on this.

– Randall Malus, 12/17/2015

As probably everyone in the world knows by now, LeBron James is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat. On Thursday night, King James announced on a nationally televised press conference that he will sign a five year contract with the Miami Heat, allowing him to join the ranks of rising NBA stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Back in Cleveland, the King’s fans are burning his memorabilia in effigy while Cleveland news sources are covering the story, using titles such as “King’s Betrayal” and “Royal Scandal”.

All I can say is, “What an ungrateful city you are.” Before pointing out the imaginary speck in the eye of King James, let’s first examine the gigantic log in our own, Cleveland.

Though I won’t go so far as to say he’s infallible, for the last seven years, LeBron James has been a part of Cleveland’s landscape. Ranging from billboards and posters to magazine ads and television commercials, Cleveland’s king has brought his city unprecedented publicity. In addition to being named one of the most valuable players in the NBA two years in a row, King James, like the good and benevolent monarch that he is, has taken the Cavaliers to new heights by helping them win more games than any team roster in franchise history — a history dating back to the early 1970s. Why, this last year, the Cavaliers were, quite literally, one of the best teams in the NBA. This, likewise, is due in no small part to the efforts of Cleveland’s chosen one.

And his efforts didn’t stop with his team. Seven years ago, King James, Cleveland’s messiah, took upon his shoulders the heavy cross that is our economy. Single-handedly, he filled the bars of downtown Cleveland night after night, game after game. Through his great sense of charity, he has donated countless hours and a great deal of money to various charities around our city. Indeed, the king has been very good to his subjects.

And how did the citizens of Cleveland, the King’s subjects, repay Him? Though Cleveland’s Savior and King wanted only a crown to place on His head — a championship ring on His finger — the ungrateful peasants of Cleveland felt the need to instead crown Him with thorns. Why, one needs look no further than the last two games of the Cavaliers’ run in the 2010 playoffs for evidence of this. Though benevolent in countless ways and though struggling with an arm injury, when He “fell upon the court” by not performing up to Cleveland’s standards, our King, King James, the King of Cleveland, was booed by a greedy and merciless populace. The people of Cleveland might as well have cried out, “Bring us Barabbas! Bring us Barabbas!” Not since the assassination of the Romanovs has such a shameful display of civil disloyalty been seen — at least, not until after Thursday’s press conference.

As soon as His most sacred divinity announced His plans to ascend from our unworthy, dismal dystopia to the paradise that is Miami, Clevelanders, once again acting like peasants and court jesters rather than men and women of noble birth, jeered their King. Why, even Dan Gilbert has joined the King’s former subject in smearing the King’s reputation with mud. Indeed, Dan Gilbert, by posting his letter, has shown his lack of class — a lack of class not shared by the holy King James, who decided to treat both His fans and team owners as equals by revealing to the entire world all at once His decision. Like a true King, He sought to unify people up until the end of His career in Cleveland. Regardless of this fact, and no doubt angry that the King’s integrity could not be bought with lies, false hope, empty promises of love and devotion, and the mere pittance of $30 million dollars — hardly a meal fit for a King — Dan Gilbert and the people of Cleveland now wail and gnash their teeth at their own foolishness.

But it’s too late, Cleveland. King James has found a new, more worthy court. You practically handed King James to Miami. You had your chance, Cleveland, and you pushed both it and your savior away. Though you will no doubt look for another deity to worship, you know deep down that you will never find one as kind and as caring as Cleveland’s true savior, LeBron James.

Well, King James, if you are reading this, I want You to know that You have at lease one loyal subject remaining in Cleveland. When the apparel companies produce Miami Heat jerseys proudly displaying the emboldened number six, I will be the first in line to purchase one. I am not as ungrateful as the rest, and may You find favor with me, Chosen One.

Long live the King.



Read it and weep Gilbert.


i can honestly say i didnt read this. his decision will not pay my bills, so why the hell should i care. ive said, and always will say, that ive hated lebron from the start. i couldnt care any less about his choice than i do now


I too have hated Lebron for seven years. And in fact I am ecstatic he has left. Now if only Bird’s Nest Johnson and Gun Toting Terminator Wannabe would leave.
The point is, I do not believe Lebron did anything for this city. I think his negative effects out weigh any possible positives.
Lebron is not any more responsible for filling bars than is anyone else on the team or Dan Gilbert.
You say he donated to charities. But who paid to see him and thus paid his salary? The fans. In essence he took out millions from poor Cleveland and paid back only a small portion of what he took.
He was a very poor figure to struggling Cleveland.
In a time where we should be telling every child to get a degree and work for your money, he skipped out on college and was paid merely for playing a sport well. He set the example to youth to forget about education and focus on sports. When the reality is less than 1% of all high school athletes will be professional. I would say that negative does more damage to our economy than any positive he could ever hope to do.
He wore Yankee and Cowboy attire to our Indian and Browns games. So yet, while he has never been loyal or part of NEO, you still claim loyalty to a man who made an hour long television special to lead you on and tell you he’s leaving for Miami.
Sounds like a stand up guy alright…


There you have it Randy, you’re right, two ungrateful Clevelanders above who didn’t want King James to make Cleveland a heavenly Kingdom with a booming economy.


Our bad economy in Cleveland is due to manufacturing jobs lost, not our lack of a championship.


Great work Randy!!


Did you ever think, follow me for a second, that Clevelanders don’t want to work without a Championship? Boom. I just blew your mind. Dan Gilbert and Cleveland pushed away our only chance to resurrect our economy, King James. The city now has nothing to stand on.


Hahaha Good point. I never thought people would rather be homeless than work in a city without a major sport championship. You schooled me.


LeBron James is entertainment. He did his job with entertaining us. Now he will only entertain Cleveland twice a year instead of 41+ times a year.


I’m sorry you cynically think life and people are all about money and material possessions Mark. What about intangibles like the supreme glory of a Championship trophy?


Hey, we got a championship trophy in 1994. So technically we should be booming with economic prosperity.


Cleveland Crunch? 15 years ago? Kidding right? Oh King James, we need you to straighten out Mark over here.


Yeah! Get him over here! I owe him a hard right to the face and a strong kick in the groin.


Okay, so Mark obviously doesn’t understand how this works. Quite simply, manufacturers aren’t interested in building their businesses in cities that don’t win championships. Why? Because championships bring national attention to a given city. That national attention brings new residents to that city, which in turn gives the manufacturers a better incentive to grow (or stay or return) their businesses in the thriving metropolis. Simple trickledown economics. I mean, we saw that in action when the Crunch won fifteen years ago…Cleveland was able to stave off its economic apocalypse for a least a couple more years while manufacturers chose to stay and see what the Indians might do. Of course, no additional championships over a fifteen year period would be enough to push any manufacturer away — and so Cleveland remains an economic ground zero.

For the reasons I stated above, Cleveland’s pushing away of King James will most certainly correspond with people’s failing quality of life here in Cleveland. To be so combative against the idea of LeBron staying is tantamount to saying that one doesn’t care about Clevelanders becoming homeless because they’ve gone bankrupt or their employers have closed and moved to Miami. Frankly, Mark, I find something sociopathically callous about that.


Ok, good point. So seeing as though Seattle hasn’t won a major championship since 1979… the city must be a ghost town as well. Oh wait….
Business decisions have absolutely nothing to do with championships won of the city and everything to do with profits. All the manufacturing jobs left because they can pay Chinese workers 50 cents a day. Not because Cleveland sports suck.


Seattle? Oh, yeah, THERE’S a manufacturing town.
What’s their main export? Suicidal crybabies? Shitty movies about people with insomnia? Come on.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS – Nintendo Direct 12/15/2015

Standing by, ladies and gentlemen.

Check out the livestream here: http://www.nintendo.com/nintendo-direct/12-15-2015/

Less than 30 minutes away now.  Scroll down for updates.

Speculation?  One of the remaining characters has to be third party.  Why?  Two character slots (after Cloud), one level slot (after Midgar, Cloud’s level).  The Nintendo DLC releases did not specifically come with their own stages…past stages, yes, but no new ones specific to them (Mewtwo, Roy, Lucas).  Ryu and Cloud, both third party character DLC, come with character/series-specific levels.  Thus, at least one remaining third party character.  Is it Snake with Shadow Moses (revisited)?  Is it Shantae with…wherever the hell she’s from?  Shovel Knight with the Order of No Quarter’s Headquarters?  Banjo and Kazooie with a level that looks very much like every other level in this game?  Or…is it Minecraft Steve, with a Minecraft-inspired block level?

Or did Sakurai make the right choice, the only choice, and build a Castlevania level for one Simon Belmont?  We shall soon see!!

About 15 minutes away…feed is up, chat is up.  People speculating and hoping for a miracle.  As am I.

Presentation will be 33 minutes in length.

9 minutes and counting. Taking part in the chat and being very pro-Simon. Here’s my twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=MalusNMayhem

A couple of pro-Simon people in here (so, at least me and one other person). THE HYPE IS REAL!

Only 5 minutes remain. I’m hearing the band Europe in my head.

Okay, time to get serious. Three lines, bros and babes.

…another Fire Emblem? Corrin form Fire Emblem Fates. Huh. Weird. Male or female versions available.

He/she is a swordfighter who transforms into a dragon. That’s cool, I guess. I think now Fire Emblem matches/rivals Mario and Pokemon in terms of number of characters.

The moveset looks interesting but…meh. I’m just not a Fire Emblem guy.

No new stage with Corrin, but new music.

Cloud will be released soon, and was most requested Final Fantasy character.

Limit Break is both chargeable and charges automatically with use of attacks.

…Last fighter is Bayonetta. Seriously? Konami can go fuck itself, apparently.

I miss Project M already.

Can’t wait for someone to hack the game and allow for custom characters.

Good night, all!

Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS – The Shovel Knight Upset (formerly conspiracy)

So, today (December 15, 2015) at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT/10 GMT is the final Nintendo Direct livestream event dealing specifically with Super Smash Bros.  It’s believed that Cloud Strife’s inclusion in the game will be covered in more detail, and that the rest of the DLC (which Sakurai said yesterday will be ending soon) will be revealed.

Holy cow, that’s in less than an hour!  As the stream is happening, I will be bullet-pointing and updating the blog.  That said, let me talk (very briefly) about Shovel Knight.

When it was first revealed that Shovel Knight would be the first 3rd party-produced Amiibo (indeed, Shovel Knight is not a Nintendo property but rather the IP of Yacht Club Games), there was a ton of speculation that Shovel Knight would be pulled into Smash Bros. as a playable character.  It makes sense, to a degree; Amiibos were first introduced for Smash Bros., after all, and for the longest time, no one could see the color of the base.

Sidenote: Each game that uses an Amiibo for interactivity has a different base–so Smash Bros. Amiibos have a golden Smash insignia base, Mario Party Amiibos have a silver checkered base, etc.

On top of that, the preliminary sketches released by Yacht Club games showed the Amiibo as having a Smash Bros. base…so, yeah, it makes sense that people would think Shovel Knight might show up in the game.

Recently, though, Yacht Club Games themselves have dispelled that rumor, stating that though they would love nothing more than to see their character in Smash Bros., he just wasn’t “compatible”.  Now, whether or not they were just talking of the Amiibo, or of the character himself (only makes sense if my original hypothesis of this Smash Bros. game being about Nintendo history is true), remains to be seen.  It has since been revealed that Shovel Knight is to have a purple base with a shovel insignia on it–so, not the Smash base.

Either way, though, with the final Nintendo Direct dealing with Smash Bros. looming ever closer (a mere 35 minutes away as of me typing this sentence), literally anything can happen.  We may yet see Shovel Knight in this game, ladies and gentlemen.  I’m hoping not before Simon Belmont, of course, but what can one do?

Stay tuned for live updates during the livestream!


TBT #12 – Kill your double in Nintendo’s Urban Champion

Originally published at Examiner.com on February 18, 2014.

This was the last article I wrote for Examiner.com.  Two more (at least) were planned, but never came to fruition.  Perhaps this is the place to bring them into existence.

Either way, I’m done with Examiner.com forevermore.

 – Randall Malus, 12/10/2015

There’s a terrible stigma that comes with a thing being called “classic”.  To many, the word is synonymous with “unwanted”.  Suggest a classic film, and all your friends will groan.  Suggest playing a classic game, and all your friends will look at you quizzically.  Suggest traveling to a classic event via bridge between the fourth and fifth dimensions, and your friends will have you committed–that is, they will if you don’t first put on your invisibility helmet made of cheese and fueled by grave dirt (as per leprechaun instruction), but even then the thing rarely works for more than a few moments so it’s not worth mentioning anyway.  Yes, the common belief is that “classic” is “unwanted”.  Somehow sub-par.

Urban Champion proves those beliefs to be 100% true.


It’s like Kitty Genevese, but with more testosterone.

It’s not that Urban Champion is a bad game, it’s just that it’s a confusing one.  Confusing, some might say, in its simplicity.  You play a gentleman whose whole point in life is, apparently, to meet other gentlemen (who look exactly like you) in front of buildings and beat them to a pulp.  With punches.  No kicks.  Once finished, a resident of said building who has been watching the action will rain confetti down on you–or, if you happened to lose, onto your opponent.  It apparently never occurs to the resident that police intervention might be required to handle the random outburst of violence that just broke out in front of their building, but I digress.

So, simple, right? Yes, but, as I said, confusing. Who are these people that the player fights? “Bullies”, states the manual, but that doesn’t explain their similarities to the player character. No, dear reader, they’re not mere bullies. They’re something more. What kind of “more” is the “something” that they “are”?

The answer is frightening, yet exciting in a boring sort of way:

They are all doppelgangers.

You see, I believe this game to be an NES adaptation of the classic (there’s that word again) German gothic novel by Hanns Heinz Ewers entitled The Student of Prague.  In the novel, the titular student Balduin (or “Urban Champion” as he’s never referred to) makes a deal with the devilish Scarpinelli whereby Balduin sells his reflection for riches.  The reflection steps out of the mirror and, over the course of the novel, harasses Balduin to no good end.

Of course, the major plot points of the story are lost on Urban Champion.  There are no cut scenes, the city looks really basic (nothing indicating the fact that it’s Prague at all), and there’s nothing said of the student (the titular Urban Champion) being a pretty good fencer.  That’s forgivable, though, since this is an early NES game–and they were a lot more basic back then.  Heck, there’s so little of King Kong’s story in the NES adaptation entitled Donkey Kong that I won’t even bother writing an article about it (article forthcoming).

In addition to the obscured plot, the title itself is somewhat confusing.  “Urban Champion”?  Are we to take from this title that everyone who survives a single day in the inner city is to be considered a “champion”?  While likely true, I have to wonder what being a “suburban champion” would entail.  Would it involve complaining to one’s spouse about the stifling rules instituted by the development association in order to keep the tulpa living under the gated community happy?  Can a person consider themselves a “suburban champion” if they leave a passive-aggressive note in their neighbor’s mail box because their neighbor’s driveway was poured too short and only has room for two cars but their neightbor owns three, and so one hangs out over the sidewalk slightly, forcing the person in question to–heaven forbid–step onto the apron and then back onto the sidewalk during said person’s morning jog (I know it was you, Cheryl, you tramp)?

Well, whatever is truly going on in the game, one thing is for sure: it is a classic in the purest sense of the word.  So, the next time your father wants to dust off his phonograph player and asks you to watch an ancient film like The Fast and the Furious with a very much alive Paul Walker, be sure to bring up Urban Champion.  He may just reconsider.

TBT #11 – Mega Man 10 Robot Master names leaked! Capcom has a fit! Spoilers within!

Originally published at Examiner.com on January 11, 2010.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Robot Masters for Mega Man 10 have been named!  Furthermore, they’re all apparently true, as Capcom has seen fit to delete every thread associated with the–not rumors–spoilers from the Capcom Unity website.

Yes, you read correctly.  This is the information that Capcom doesn’t want you to know.  Seriously, folks, they’re literally freaking out about this, even though this information will in no conceivable way hurt the sales of Mega Man 10.  Plus, when you think about it, it’s truly Capcom’s fault that these names were leaked, as they must have shared this information with someone in order for it to have been leaked in the first place

Perhaps “Classified Man” or “Big Brother Man”  will be found in Capcom’s next Mega Man game.

The Robot Masters are as follows (and this information came from ProtoDude’s Rockman Corner, before ProtoDude very bravely ran away from his evil overlords at Capcom):

  • Blade Man
  • Strike Man
  • Pump Man
  • Commando Man
  • Solar Man
  • Chill Man
  • Sheep Man
  • Nitro Man

Again, though Capcom has not issued an official statement, I think the fact that the mods over at Capcom Unity soil themselves every time these names are mentioned is evidence of the information’s accuracy.  If you, my loyal readers, post these names in a thread on Capcom Unity, you will see how long it takes for the mods to delete your posts, your entire threads, and, possibly, your very lives!  That’s right, folks, a bunch of twenty-something nerdy Japanese game designers will swarm upon you like a clan of ancient assassins.  Be warned!

All joking aside, Capcom’s reaction is a complete joke.  They really are treating this tiny, insignificant leak as the most grievous intellectual property crime since Napster–or The Pirate Bay.  With this in mind, though ProtoDude may only answer to his Capcom masters, I answer to my loyal readers and fellow fans of the Blue Bomber.  This is my gift to the fans.

I will update as more information becomes available.  Keep the free press alive!

For more info: Capcom Unity, ProtoDude’s Rockman Corner