Proudly presents…

The Tao of Mario Review Review

with ♥ from Froge


Yeah I give this game, uhhh, a TEN OUTTA FIVE YEAHHHHH.

Hey, hey, hey! What the Game is up everyGamer, today we’re here with a new Game review of our hit Game, the Tao of Mario. Because I have a blatant conflict of interest and may be bribing myself in order to prostitute my newest book — or Game — , I cannot not allow myself to be so biased as to make a review of something I made myself, at least not until I get bribed by other people. I therefore shoulder the responsibility to this lovely artist, who also has several names but I will remember as “the Russian onomatopoeia for a frog croaking,” KVA, also known as “trimiria”, “btnsmshr”, and probably some more names hiding in the shadows.

I spent all of today playing Kirby’s Dream Course with another frog (yes, there’s room for more than ONE frog in this hell we call Earth), and after making some remarks to the effect of “this game is FUCKING BULLSHIT REEEEEEEEEEEE”, I quietly excused myself after I realised it was past my 6 PM bedtime and didn’t want to get beaten. So now I’m sitting here in the dark trying to pump out this review before anybody noticed I’m gone and have to donate the Kratzen Wager instead of lining my pockets to spend on luxury meals like McDonalds and the free breakfast offered at Church. There may no God, but there sure is a Heaven to be found in steak and eggs. There you have it, kids: mooch off Christians for fun and profit.

What the heck is it?

The summary I am labouriously shuffling towards is that, simply, there is a miniature paper magazine that was constructed for the sole purpose of reviewing the Tao of Mario in big, handwritten letters, and cutesy diagrams as well. You can read it on Instagram! This raises the number of things Instagram is good for from two to three, the other two being dragging Lil Bow Wow and catching celebrities with fake watches.

The only way to properly review such a short experience is to go through every single sentence, every single page, every single implication, every invisible touch, every step you make, every breath you take, everybody dance now, and just tear it all apart like the ungrateful dogs we are. This ’zine is just like the Tao of Mario in that it’s full of Truth, Half – Truth, and the occasional blatant lie. For instance, the implication that I teach “valuable life lessons” and not just random acts of screeching at a page and hoping somebody agrees. Or to put it another way: REEEEEEEEEEEEEEE —

Page one!

This one’s the title page; you can tell because it has the title on it. It says: “THE TAO OF MARIO BOOK REVIEW”, meaning we’ve already gotten past the first page and so far there is no blatant libel! A good sign to be sure! The writing on this page is in big blocky felt pen across a humble canvas of what seems to be either white paper or cardstock; since the felt doesn’t bleed through, I wonder if the paper is of a higher quality than your typical arts and crafts fare? The way the text is written, too, reminds me of elementary school art classes, where I wrote with an abandon reserved for the highest – quality artists, and with technical skill so amateurish it made me give up on my art dreams under the idea I would remain an amateur forever. Not true, of course, but I am happy to see there are several youngsters out there who didn’t follow my defeatist attitude, and decided to maintain their creativity for life.

Page two and three!

Alright, now this is where it gets good. We see some more experimentation with mixed media, which is to say the pen was changed from exclusively felts to a different colour of felt and some sort of ballpoint pen. We also see some light – skinned fingers at the bottom left, which as J. Cole put it, would give one “mixed feelings like I married a white woman”, depending on if you are Racist towards those of the Caucasion Persuasion. And because I am racist, as has been established during Kratzen 2.0 when I decided to archive the entire Stormfront website behind the friendly veneer of a video games review blog, I am forced to remove one star from this review because I dislike all sorts of people of all sorts of colours, and nobody can say my opinion is wrong because I’m entitled to my opinion and nyeh nyeh nyeh.

But there are some hefty accusations on these particular pages, all of which I am forced to vehemently deny and once again express my disgust that me and my Hollywood peers are being accused of such nasty things. For instance, “The Tao of Mario was written by Froge”. This is false. In actuality, the Tao of Mario was written by the cat – thief – turned – ghostwriter Timothy Brentwood, who was forced to take a bottom – of – the – barrel hack job such as what I’ve offered in order to recover from his failed acting career after a scandal broke out surrounding allegations of animal abuse and numerous assaults on cast and crewmembers. As you can tell by the extremely low quality of writing on display in the Tao, he was the lowest bidder I could find.

Let’s just go through the rest of these BLATANTLY false accusations: “FROGE (real name yet unknown)”. You silly nerd, Froge is my real name! To be precise, it’s Froge Y. Boy, the “Y.” standing for “Your”, which has caused some people to consider me “too formal” when I introduce myself using my full name. Ungrateful bastards. It goes on to say I am “an awesome writer and video games reviewer…”. This is also up for debate. I would call it less “reviewing” and more “scavenging from the worst junk piles one could possibly look for and then somehow finding even worse piles of crap in order to astonish the surface world with the bile you have presented”. Whether or not this is “awesome” depends if you consider screaming to the point of breaking several pieces of glassware to be “awesome”, but given how I now base my life around radicalness, it’s irrelevant to me.

To continue: “…who mostly dwells on Neocities”, because no other place would take me due to having the Mark of Death upon me, “where he created a number of projects including the noteable [sic] Froghand — the review blog — and Kratzen — the indie – game review magazine”. I think it’s a sign of the times that Froghand can now be considered a review blog rather than a Web security blog, after it devolved — I mean evolved — into something that would stop those damn VPN review sites from sending me e – mails asking me to accept fat stacks of cash in exchange for linking to them on posts. Well, guess what, bitches? I’m not too corrupt for that sort of treatment! As a consequence I am now flat broke, so maybe I should have been corrupt after all. I’m also happy that Kratzen has been considered a magazine by this kind [RUSSIAN FROG NOISES], because I was the only one who called it as such, and I desperately crave external validation on everything I do.

NEXT PAGE! “He also has a page on where you can check out his visual novel THREE DRUNK, PISSED – OFF FROGS”, which is totally true, though I don’t advertise it because I cannot accept donations on it, and as we all know I’m a greedy little bugger whose entire career is based around exploiting his customers in this globalised capitalist ecosystem. It is also true those frogs are drunk, they’re frogs, and they are PISSED. Why are they pissed? Read the damn novel you uncultured pigs. “and his book about game design THE TAO OF MARIO”, which is a book in the same way a pamphlet on the optimal way to cook Jello is a book: very light! Very breezy! Excessively overprice! “which you can get for free thanks to free culture propaganda”, followed by a little doodle of the book’s cover on the side. Aww, that’s cute. Also a blatant infringement of my copyrights. I hope you’re ready to get sued into the next dimension, motherfucker.

It’s also kind of coy to see the reason of my book being free because of “free culture propaganda”. And let me not lie: this is totally propaganda, and I will shove it all in your face until you come to accept that the only legitimate art in this world is that which comes with no restrictions whatsoever and is available for the public to be used as it wishes wishout restrictions. It’s a central theme in the Tao of Mario, in simplest terms, because there is too much evil that comes from copyright and proprietary software — two distinct, though related concepts — in order to see the concepts in any way being legitimate. So the Tao of Mario is in the public domain, free for you to abuse for your own evil purposes, and the same will remain such for all my work so long as I live. It’s a bigass experiment, and you’re along for the ride, baby.

Page four and five!

These pages aren’t about me so they’re the worst part of the book. Zero stars. “I usually don’t read books”, same for 50% of all people after high school, which is one of the reasons why I’m amazed society hasn’t collapsed yet, “about things like game development and design from non – programmers”. You know, that hurts. Programming sucks and everybody who ever has to deal with programming knows it damn well, so please forgive me for not taking the time to learn what is an utterly useless concept for most daily living, and then only comes into play when you’re forced to do particularly technical things with computers; technical things which far more obsessive and intelligent people have already made for you and is available to download as free software. Almost every program that any amateur can make themselves has already been made, and the challenge in learning to program is going through the several months where it’s completely and utterly worthless, and then sticking with it until you can build sufficiently complex programs where it becomes somewhat interesting to toy around with.

“…but in this case I actually got INTERESTED”, all according to keikaku (translators note: keikaku means “predeterminate machination”), “mainly because it features our beloved SMB”, soon to be the cause of a broken handheld after you’re doing with the levels I constructed for this project, “and also because the book is actually a GAME (Super Mario Maker levels to be exact,)”. Oh, dear, you’re breaking my heart here. I only ended up making four levels, and I had plans for eight whole worlds, too! The only reason I didn’t flesh out the book that much is because I had such a complex about writing the Tao I would spend days doing no work at all only to finish an entire chapter in two hours. I felt burnt out during its construction, and though I would still like to make levels, I worry that if I see it as a chore instead of as a joy as I once did, I would no longer be able to make you appreciate the joy of games that I too often feel.

“representing the written part in an interactive and enjoyable way”. Well, I will say there’s few things more cathartic than coming back to your levels months later and still feeling the same challenge you first felt playtesting them and making sure they all work. Being able to appreciate all the little details one puts into a level, making their construction as perfect as can be, is something that you can only really appreciate the first time you see the level. After that, your brain goes on autopilot and blocks out the æsthetic portions of the level in order to focus on basic shapes representing enemies and safe platforms to move on. In this respect it is sort of like writing, because so much can be said without needing to say it, but I would also say the medium that fits that description best is the visual arts, which level design is forced to be a slave to as well!

“While not having a 3DS (please buy me one)”, to which I say Christmas is coming up and as long as one is participating in a blatantly capitalistic manufactured sales event, they might as well buy a blatantly capitalist manufactured anti – customer baby box to match, “the book felt like a 39 – page introduction for something bigger and cooler”. Yes, it certainly is an introduction! I have yet to write any more of the book because, once again, burnout is a binch, but there is the opportunity for one to suddenly give me a thousand bucks and encourage me to write out at least forty more pages about the Super Mario Maker levels I have developed thus far. But you’re right: I did have ambitions for this title! But I am one man, and one man can get tired so easily, so I avoided writing too much, so that you are not tired while reading my writing.

“Still, I greatly enjoyed reading it!” Yeah, thank Timothy for that! Wait, wasn’t he supposed to be a bad writer? Darn, I always get my fictional characters mixed up! “It made me think about quitting being an aspiring game developer because modern gaming industry sucks”. You see, this is why I made The Degenerates: to destroy your dreams one piece of propaganda at a time. “But it also made me think about all the ways of changing the situation gaming is in right now by the games I can create”. Also a Degenerates speciality. We break the rules and make better ones! So what if the rest of the industry is shi — sorry, can’t swear in a Christian magazine — in a bad place right now? We aren’t bad people! We have no bad place! We are the means of production! Рабочие мира, объединяйтесь!

Page five and the other number!

“WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM THIS BOOK:” a bunch of whining, beautiful typography, and one drunk, pissed – off frog trying to teach you to live your life despite knowing you just won’t listen. Cowards. “Info to think about”, technically true, in that receiving information of any kind, even random strings of letters and numbers, is information one can think about. “Valuable life lessons”. Yes, they are valuable! Spend some money on them! Just remember, kids: if you ever have no idea what to do in life, just do what I would do. The real me, not the asshole me I like to write about to make you chuckle – chuckle and laugh – laugh. “New quotes to add to your quote collection”. Ah, how rare it is to have a quotes collection these days! It used to be customary for statesman and speechwriters to have a little pocketbook of quotes to recollect when they were delivering impassioned rhetoric… but now we much rely on our memories for such discourse. Or barring that, Wikiquote. But much of my writing does lend itself to being quotable, so if I reach that goal, then I need an even loftier goal!

“Free font pack”. Yes, 100% free — no strings attached! I was originally going to donate the extremely paltry amount of money I’ve made from the Tao in order to feed the Comfortaa creator, but he never replied to my e – mail, so fuck him. I don’t have time for that level of RUDENESS. But I am glad all the typefaces in the book had virtually no restrictions on their use, because I would not feel comfortable having any part of any of my projects rely on proprietary culture, and therefore be nonfree in any meaningful sense. In an age where typefaces cost $200 as a standard and up to $10,000 for the specialty fonts, it is completely natters to pay any amount of money for anything so blatantly and artificially scarce as typography. I have scavenged up four great fonts specifically for one project that still looks as well – designed as anything that would have cost me $2,500 in order to create an equivalent design out of. If you’re a designer telling clients to pay for their typefaces, you’re a dope! End of story!

“Care for reader (you) that Froge always has. This one made me tear up a little. You always throw your heart and soul out there waiting for somebody to notice just how much you’re actually expressing yourself in this big, dumb world we live in, and when somebody finally does notice, it come as a surprise because of how often you’ve been ignored up to that point. It may not mean much in the grand scheme of things to be an artist who actually really, really cares about what their audience is getting out of their work, instead of just posting things in order to have them exist, but the means to impact somebody in such a positive way, inspiring them in order to become better people with refined tastes who have enough self – respect to admit when their current lifestyle is damaging them in small way while offering them new opportunities to improve, is something small that anybody can do in order to help improve our world, even if it’s just one person you’re helping out.

You don’t have to be a great artist or a great writer in order to be a decent person. Sometimes all it takes is the willingness to listen to what somebody is telling you and helping them figure out their problems on their own. Great artists inspire, yes, and great writers know what to say in any situation. But not all of us are at the point where we can use the right words at the right time, or know how to compose pieces that make people feel. If you can’t offer the right advice, and you can’t say it in the right way, then all it takes is the willingness to try and help someone out with the little amount of knowledge you do have. One of the strongest skills you can develop as a mature adult is knowing when to sit down and shut up. The most mature of us know when, and only when, it’s proper to speak — and us writers have the privilege to talk to damn near anyone, and how one talks is a fierce study all its own.

It’s funny, because this morning I posted on a PICO – 8 magazine’s forum about how it’s “Yet another stupid proprietary engine”, and posted a few paragraphs of my feelings on the engine for upcoming developers to read. In my defense it was three in the morning when I posted (as evident by the sentence I cut off which was suppose to say “I would not call it ‘convenient’ to permanently lock away [our culture]”, but even more defending is that everything I said was true — ask Stallman about that if you want. Of course I knew my post would be removed, so I had it archived, as if we lived in the Dark Ages where you could censor someone arbitrarily and face no repercussions. The lesson is that some people are more receptive to good ideas than others, and horses are dummies if they won’t drink your water.

“THIS BOOK GETS RATED B”, a rating I’m sure will be increased with some generous bribe money, “for buy me 3DS ‘I want to check out those levels’”. Hey, Nintendo, I’m encouraging sales of your products over here! How long until I get my cut, eh you corporate whores? “Now go and support Froge following these links:” Yes, everybody give me your neverending support! I am, after all, a very charismatic cult leader, as has been posited by a My Little Pony porn artist and silently supported by Tumblr who will gladly host such truths — I mean allegations, yes, it’s all just allegations. “”, where you can buy my crap! “”, where you can read my propaganda! “”, where you can read my — wait, why are you reading this again? Is there nothing else online that caught your fancy, or are you so bored you found yourself reading this crap? “”, where you can give me money, you animals! GIVE IT TO ME I NEED THAT FUCKING CASHHHHHHHHHHH

“Please buy him Ko – Fi. (I would personally love to but I’m poor right now)”. Oh, don’t feel bad! Charity, after all, is for those with the privilege to give to those who can give them nothing in return. Character is not about doing good with the expectation of having good done to you. It’s about living your life in such a way that, good or bad, you become the type of person that other people want to become. Part of that is giving generously, yes. But money rules the world, and practically, it owns us as much as we own it. It is a necessity, and to apologise for keeping your bare necessities is an apology not needed at all.

I don’t need the money; I take donations so I can continue to say I don’t need the money, because one morning I might wake up and find it’s gonna be gone by nightfall. I take it so I may live, and with what I have now, I can afford to give away to help those with worse lives develop a bit more luxury, and a bit more security. I feel bad whenever I don’t donate, and in fact it’s been a while since I last donated, because I’m paranoid I might lose my money, and only have the scraps of my frugal ways in order to survive off. But I’m never going to be truly comfortable with my finances because of just how uncertain life can be. I have so much of my money tied away in retirement funds, but who am I to say I’ll live seventy years to claim it all? In the face of Chaos, I’m nobody. But I know exactly how much a dollar cost, and to recieve even a dollar of somebody’s hard work and determination, with the knowledge that I earned that dollar? That’s special. That’s money you put in the bank and save for the rest of your life; not money to spend on cheep beer and Big Macs. That’s an insult to everyone who had ever donated to your cause.

Oh, Christ, last page already

“Triminia & Froge, 2017, #zineovember”. The tragic thing is, in absence of a licence, this ’zine is copyrighted. Oh, how you slap me in the face! Now all I can do is make fun of it in a nonfree way, how all my logic and theory falls on deaf ears, and how everything I have ever written was for nothing! Also, I see the author is a fan of the classic ampersand in the style of “and per say and” instead of the more obtuse “et” style. Agh, that’s all typographical geekiness. You know, I’ve never actually met a typographer. Do they exist, or are their books just hoaxes produced by some very bored college student?


Oh hell I am so tired why did I stay up writing this article — HEY HEY!

What more can I add to such a lovely book but to express my appreciation for one having made it at all? If I wasn’t such a dope who spent my day playing Kirby Golf, I would be able to honour this gesture, this random act of kindness out of a fan’s heart and soul, with more complete words, more poetic, and with prose that sings instead of stings with satirical venom. I know, as is the tragedy of memory, I will be quick to forget this ’zine as days go by, but the privilege to see it now is one of the reasons why, as the Buddah says, I can look up at the sky, realise everything is perfect, and laugh. This was the first time I have ever received such a fan work, no matter how humble it is, and I am so glad to have actually received it at all.

I know writing doesn’t lend itself to sincerity. I mean, my voice, in general, doesn’t lend itself to sincerity. But you that I am honest, and I honestly really appreciate what’s been given to me tonight. One of the most frustrating things I have to deal with, for every nice comment that I get, is the obligation to reply in kind to them. And it’s difficult because I always wonder if my fandom, as extremely small as it is, do not believe I appreciate them. I know that when I see YouTubers earn mail and comments, I find it hard to believe they appreciate them. Are they numb to the praise, I wonder? Do they just see their audience as numbers? But I think I’m happy to be at the point where I don’t just see who I’m writing to as a bunch of numbers to mindlessly increase. I mean, hell, I’m sure as shit not writing for myself!

So thank you, once again, for being with me during my humble beginnings. I will not live my life without being somebody who you, too, will want to live their life like. As the world turns, we all turn with it, and what we do with the world we’re given is entirely up to us, and though I am here for you, it is you who must be you. And so long as you be, you will be somebody worth being, and be glad to have been at all.