Allow me to explain The Eggplant Paradox.
I’m assuming that, if you’re reading this, you’re a human. You’re also likely to be a human of some advanced age, or at least older than ten. If so, you’re familiar with the phenomena of your taste changing as you grow older. No, I’m not talking about getting over your childish obsession with Voltron, or acquiring a greater appreciation for classical music like the Beastie Boys oeuvre; no, I’m talking about your literal taste buds, and how those change over the years. Everyone knows that children have a predisposition towards sweets (which is theoretically a biological imperative to help a child accumulate enough calories to properly grow… basically, ancient humans grew on the same principles as Pokémon evolving), and that craving lessens with age. Thus, naturally, people’s taste changes as they grow, and lollipops are tossed aside for cucumbers. Well… hopefully. I mean, your teeth can only take so much taffy.
Personally, I remember the exact first salad I ever tolerated. I was 14 or so, and, after years of diving for whatever salad-substitute was available at any given restaurant, I finally found myself pinned at a local eatery where (gasp!) salad was the only appetizer available. First world problem, I know, but I was stripped of my free will and desire for applesauce, and cornered into eating a salad. It… wasn’t bad. And, from that point on, I actually found that I enjoyed salads, and vastly preferred them over runny soups. Now, a number of years later, a “po’ boy” salad is one of my favorite meals… or at least a fine way to empty all the leftovers in my fridge onto a bed of lettuce. Alright, if there was a bun big enough, it’d be a sandwich, but I like to convince myself I eat remotely healthy on occasion.
So, after the concept of salad was inflicted upon me, I decided to have a more open mind when it came to food. There are still some items I won’t touch (this blog is a lima bean free zone), and certain items I only enjoy “one way” (cooking broccoli or carrots is a bootable offense), but I’ve got the mentality of “I’ll try anything once.” What’s the point in life if you don’t try new things?
And then there’s eggplant.
It was the prom, a heady time when most of my contemporaries were concerned about that whole “getting naked” thing. Beautiful dresses, dapper suits, and I in a tux that was chosen entirely because it pulled off the optical illusion of convincing others I have actual shoulders. This was by no means “my prom”, no, I had been invited to this prom by a girl from an entirely different school. Sorta. The girl in question was single, and actually invited my girlfriend/her best friend, but the school had issues with her inviting a girl as her date, so I wound up with a ticket as well. In reality, she basically invited an entire couple as her date, though, for the benefit of other teenage eyes, it appeared that I was one man in a tux with a woman on each arm.
Needless to say, I have never looked that cool before or since.
Regardless, it was a fun night all around, and the whole “two dates” thing made the event very low stress. I don’t know if you, gentle reader, remember being a teenager, but worrying about how “my girlfriend” perceived every stupid thing I did at all times was on my mind roughly unceasingly, so an event where I could chill out and let the best friend do the heavy lifting was a godsend. Compliment everyone’s dress, dance when asked, and otherwise just unwind and hang out. No, I’m not going to “get laid”, but we can take a night off from biological urges, right?
Today, at this point in my life, I’ve been to a number of weddings, parties, funerals, and other social functions that were lavishly catered. When I was 16, however, I’m pretty sure the most luxurious meal I ever had involved a healthy amount of Chex Mix. This prom had a slightly more upscale buffet available, and contained a host of entrees I did not normally see on the McDonald’s menu. Did you know they make chicken with spaghetti sauce on it, and it’s named after cheese? It’s true! And there are these little hors d’oeuvres thingys that I’m pretty sure are just hotdog biscuits, but you get yelled at when you call ‘em that. And, as you’re probably guessing, there was fried eggplant available.
“Fried eggplant!” I said. “I love fried food and trying new things. On this, this night of endless possibilities where, for all the world to see, I appear to be impossibly cool, I, Goggle Bob, shall try some of this ‘eggplant’ substance!”
And I took a bite.
And I immediately spit it out on the table.
Not cool, eggplant. Not cool.
Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of The Eggplant Paradox.
There is something about eggplant. I don’t know if it’s that it is generally fried, or smothered in some manner of sauce, or just it looks like it has a meat-like texture, but every time I see eggplant freely available, every time, I decide to give it a try. Maybe I think I’m more mature or that this time it will be prepared differently, but I just can’t resist attempting eggplant again. And, naturally, every time triggers this mad dash to get the eggplant out of my mouth immediately. The minute eggplant hits my tongue, there is no question in my mind, I’m going to induce vomiting if this thing stays in my mouth for any longer.
I hate eggplant, but I always try it again. Again and again. And I know what’s going to happen. But, still I try it again. This is The Eggplant Paradox: a never ending cycle of hate-fruiting.
Adventures of Lolo 2, and its entire franchise, is the eggplant of videogames.
Every time I look at the Adventures of Lolo 2 cartridge, I am tricked. I think to myself, “Hey, it’s that action puzzle game from the company that eventually made Kirby. Those guys know how to make a videogame! It’s all about block puzzles, right? I’m great at those! I’ve been kicking JRPG block puzzle ass for years! Sure, I was bad at this game as a kid, but I’m going to slam that game into the NES, and beat that King Egger once and for all!”
And, to the game’s credit, I’m able to get through the first few levels. So AoL2 is not as bad as eggplant, technically. However, a few more stages in, and I’m already feeling the burn. I’m able to plan ahead for Skulls and Medusas, but those sleepy Leepers get annoying pretty damn fast. Rockys seem to have very hateful AI, and Alma rolls much too quickly. And, by the time a Don Medusa shows up, I’m done. I’m just… done.
I don’t want to play this anymore. Why did I think this would be fun? Block puzzles are the worst parts of JRPGs! And why can you get a block stuck “halfway” when all the monsters work on full-square coordinates? Why can’t I bloody “pull” a block backwards so I don’t lose all my progress thanks to a clumsy bump? Why does this game have lives at all!?
And it’s with great haste that I yank the cartridge out of the NES, and quickly slot Castlevania 3 in there. Need to calm down… not think of the bad blue creature anymore… he can’t hurt me now.
A few months later, I gaze at my collection, and notice Adventures of Lolo 2 sitting there with the other A’s.
“Hm… Adventures of Lolo, eh? That’s the action puzzle game from the company that eventually made Kirby…”
FGC #167 Adventures of Lolo 2
- System: Nintendo, and Wii, again, right? The Wii Virtual Console was a lot more robust than I ever gave it credit for.
- Number of players: One Lolo. Sorry, you’d have to wait until Adventures of Lolo 3 for a bowed Lolo alternative.
- Favorite Monster: I like Gol, the fire breathing dragon creature that only activates after acquiring all the hearts. I feel like Gol plays fair with “you better prepare for this”, as opposed to his Skull buddies, who seem to figure out how to devour you immediately upon waking. And Gol isn’t as completely fatal as those damn Medusas.
- Like a Boss: This is the first Lolo game with a real “final boss”… or a boss at all. King Egger must be battled in the final stage, and he’s not that bad, considering it’s just a fireball tossing fight. Yes, Lolo only has 1 HP, but Egger pretty much has the same offensive capability as Lolo, and the monarch is a much bigger target.
- Other Eggplant Issues: No, I did not complete Kid Icarus as a child, so my bias against eggplant did not originate there.
- Did you know? Lolo lives in Eggerland and is menaced by King Egger. Lolo uses magic to transform monsters into eggs. I feel like there’s a theme here… maybe something about balls?
- Would I play again: Give me a few months…
What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Mega Man IV for the Gameboy! ROB seems to choose every Mega Man game except the “real” titles. Weird. Anyway, I guess we have time for Ballade. Please look forward to it!