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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Shoes/Boots and Their Roles in Nintendo Games

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - An article on footwear.

Have you heard about the collaboration between Nintendo and shoes manufacturer Vans? Nintendo has licensed their 8-bit artwork and themes to Vans to inspire a new line of shoes, backpacks, and vomiting women.

Woman girl vomits barfs projectile into Mushroom Kingdom warp pipe wearing Vans Nintendo shoes sneakers
I hope the plumber goes into that warp pipe!

...Okay, I edited the vomit in. But I don't know why Vans had that original image at all. (It's not there anymore, but it WAS a placeholder. Notice she's wearing the shoes.)

These shoes are massively overpriced, by the way. They don't even look all that good. But many people seem to love them. They were selling quite a tad, and I hear all sorts of people talking about how they want them. Weird, right? Now even athletes are wearing Nintendo-themed cleats on the field.

So, why shoes? Well, it turns out that footwear has a long history with Nintendo, and shoes are actually integral to their games. I'll go over examples how, and then my thoughts Yup. At the end. 

Shoes for Style — Splatoon and Animal Crossing

I believe shoes for style is what the Vans customers are going for. Of course, you don't look stylish wearing a Mario face on your feet — or your New Nintendo 3DS, for that matter. You look like a nerd at best, and a terrible, ugly person on average. (Both on the outside AND the inside.) I don't quite understand why people use shoes as a prominent expression of themselves. Don't you want people to look at you eye-to-eye? Why are they looking down at your boots?

Animal Crossing New Leaf Kicks shoe storefront mayor shopping
My boots are only a small part of my overall fascist dictator look in the Animal Crossing: New Leaf town of KoopaTV.

Still, games with customisable outfits pay close attention to footwear as a way of expression, though I believe this is to emulate people's existing preferences, rather than create new attention to shoes that didn't exist before. Animal Crossing: New Leaf has an entire store, Kicks, dedicated to shoes. The 3DS is so low-res that you can't even make out my Hero's Boots in the screenshot above, yet there they are.

Shrimp Kicks Crusty Sean Splatoon Booyah Base Inkopolis shoe store Moto Boots
Crusty Sean sliding in. By the way, I'm still supporting Team Callie.

A similarly-named store, Shrimp Kicks, also exists in Splatoon. These shoes are a lot more distinctive than the ones in Animal Crossing, coming in all sorts of colourful shapes, sizes, and designs. The shoes in Splatoon do have some function beyond just looking good — each shoe has a primary ability (in the case of the Moto Boots I'm wearing, Quick Respawn) and up to three secondary abilities. However, the ability the shoe provides has no relation to the actual shoe itself. You can't look at a shoe and know by its design that it provides Run Speed Up, or Bomb Sniffer.

Whether an Inkling focuses on fashion or some degree of function is up to that Inkling, but due to the lack of relationship between fashion and function for Splatoon shoes, I'm putting them as a stylistic choice more than anything.

Shoes for Function — The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

The Legend of Zelda is a series famous for having shoes play a large role! Whether they're Zora Flippers allowing Link to swim, Hover Boots allowing Link to float over gaps ('cause he sucks at jumping), or Pegasus Boots allowing him to dash super-fast, Link uses footwear for functional purposes. The footwear itself all have unique designs that communicate their function to Link and anyone else, which is good, because when he gets them from a dusty treasure chest they don't come with an instruction manual.

The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Iron Boots get item
I'm not so fond of these boots being used so Link can cheat against Gorons in wrestling, instead of him working hard and working out.

And, in the case of the Iron Boots, Link has worn these rather unwieldy things to step on really sturdy switches or withstand heavy winds. He has also used them to cheat in Goron wrestling matches because he's too impatient to pump iron. He'd rather just expedite the process and wear it! It's to save the kingdom, he claims. Well, he never went back after the kingdom was saved and to have a fair wrestling match with those Gorons!

Still, Link has mostly used his boots for legitimate puzzle-solving functionality. That is, unlike the last category of footwear and my example for it...

Shoes for Evil — Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

...The last prominent usage of shoes in Nintendo games are for VIOLENT ACTIVITY. I have experience with this usage on a personal level... as a victim!

I'm talking about those jerk Mario Brothers! They're always jumping on people! With their boots!

Mario & Luigi Paper Jam Knockout Boots gear screen
Mario's boots are an accomplice to him playing the Knockout Game.

Sometimes, Mario has his own pair of iron boots: The Iron Jump! Using these, he can jump on even spiky enemies, such as myself when I'm trying to hide for dear life inside my cozy, spiky shell. Unlike Link, Mario will never find a constructive purpose for any of his shoes. It's exclusively to destroy other people. Tens of thousands have perished from Mario's leather-covered feet, including the poor cows at his segregated, oppressive Moo Moo Meadows horror show.

Toads open stores around the Mushroom Kingdom just to sell this weaponry to Mario. Who else is buying this stuff? Other Toads? The shoes are a snug fit for Mario's feet, and his feet only! ...Oh, and sometimes Luigi's. It's a sickening industry, and it's even more sickening that all of these establishments are able to even stay in business. Does Mario buy that many boots? Are they subsidised by Princess Peach herself? This is pretty much a bigger scandal than Nintendo using conflict minerals.

The Best Footwear is No Footwear

I'm barefoot. Not all Koopas go this route — Kamek wears shoes, as do most Koopa Troopas. Even Dry Bones wear them. Wendy O. Koopa wears heels, and Rawk Hawk also wears shoes. I'm not really sure how to describe Vortexica, but his feet seem shoe-like.

I'm therefore the only KoopaTV staff member to not wear shoes. Sure, I play some videogames where my characters wear shoes, but I personally do not. I'm proud of this distinction, and would like others to join with me. The downsides for shoes CLEARLY outweigh the positives, at least in my world and likely yours as well, so we should just do away with footwear as a whole. Be especially weary of “socially-responsible” footwear organisations such as TOMS Shoes, which donate a pair of shoes to some needy country for every pair someone actually purchases. It's a front for widespread footwear proliferation!

Stop these weapons of mass stompstruction!

This is the footer for this article on footwear. Notice how there is no shoe around this text. Shoes are for scrubs! Ludwig is clearly against shoes, and would like to know your experiences with shoes... in general... and particularly negative experiences.

This isn't the only thing that Nintendo has done lately to appeal to nostalgia. How about re-releasing the NES?
Rawk believes that Ludwig's anti-foot stance is very Miyamoto-like, and therefore bad, with the slippery slope being a loss of feet entirely.
Footwear is associated with non-consensual, harassing activities.
Mario got the boots of the LAW on his face in 2020.



    They sold these at Nintendo World Store (before name change). There were Luigi ones as well. I saw a pic on deviantart of someone putting Mario and Lugi's heads in the pipes as if they were vomiting. At Nintendo World my husband and I made some plushies pose as if they were vomiting. An employee came and we showed her what we did. She smiled.

    A bit later we saw them fixed up into their original poses. I guess the employee fixed them up.

    1. She might've been smiling at the idea of grown people manipulating plushies for kids that way, not 'cause she thought it was humourous.

      ...I think it's humourous, though.

    2. I am pretty sure most employees hired are overgrown children themselves, being familiar with what they are surrounded by in the store. When I bought a plush replica of you an employee that was running the cashing machine said Ludwig is his favorite or something like that.

      I'm surprised the clerk ringing up Splatoon plushies I got from them including when I bought another set of Squid Sisters did not start preaching which is the best sister like they do on forums.

    3. <3

      Maybe the clerk was tired of having the same conversation with the dozens of people who also bought plushies that day.

  2. Replies
    1. Did you click this article knowing that it'd have a whole section about The Legend of Zelda ahead of time, or...

    2. No, I did a little reading for once.
      I do not agree with your trashing of the Nintendo Vans.

    3. In that case, can you answer this:
      “I don't quite understand why people use shoes as a prominent expression of themselves. Don't you want people to look at you eye-to-eye? Why are they looking down at your boots?”

    4. I would want people to compliment on my shoes.
      They are basically an extension of yourself.

    5. Why not put as much effort into, like, hair? At least it's on your head, where people's eyes should be.

      When I look at people, it's never at their feet.

    6. No one cares about hair. Silly cow.

    7. "Nice hair." People say.

      No one ever compliments shoes.

    8. That's because you don't have sweet shoes.

    9. I don't observe other people compliment other people's shoes, either.

    10. I was in gamestop and an employee said he liked my shoes.

    11. No, they were basically greeters.

  3. If it wasn't for bad bacteria and cold weather, I'd be barefoot all the time.

    1. Good.

      Over in Koopa Kingdom, we have a ton of lava pits keeping everything nice and toasty! But I guess some people out there are worried about stepping in some weird stuff.

  4. While "Mario and Luigi - Paper Jam" may be a prime example of "Shoes for Evil," I have something that'll be irrefutable evidence:
    Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix!

    A lighthearted game only in visuals, this game puts the "evil" in "shoes!" Throughout the game, you tortorize Koopas, Goombas, and Boos, to name a few. There's no bounds evil shoes can't reach.

    1. I're not dancing on their bodies or anything, right?

    2. Well, no... Just stomping on them.

      Either way, you can definitely tell "Mario Mix" is a Mario Spin-off Title because he actually does something good to Bowser:
      (He fixed his tone deafness.)

    3. Uh... Not really. Toad declared that nobody can beat the plumber on the dance floor, and while Bowser danced a clean dance, that red-hatted jerk was shooting rockets at my dad. CHEATER.
      (....yeah that's never stated.)


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