Tag Archives: Nintendo

NerdCast: E.J. Fischer and “The New Mother” Part 2

E.J. wraps up the conversation about “The New Mother.” We also get into tangent-land, including the Spurs, John Scalzi’s “Red Shirts”, and how Nintendo is a lot like professional wrestling.



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Video Show

Show Notes

Asimov April/May

If you can’t find Asimov’s April/May magazine at your local store, you can buy the back issue online here.

We start by talking more about “The New Mother”, warning, spoilers!

I talk some of the implications of E.J’s premise. Genetic algorithms, how evolution happens with cloning, and eugenics come up. E.J. spoils that eugenics will play a major part in his upcoming book.

We discuss the freakiness of Men’s Rights groups. E.J. also examines some trends in these groups in his upcoming book. As before, he’s done research on terrorism, including the work of Louise Richardson.

I love this quote by Anita Sarkeesian:

It’s possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy a piece of media while also being critical of some of the more problematic aspects of that same media.

We talk a little about the book Red Shirts. E.J. and I may discuss it on a future podcast. Given our schedule and my overall busy-ness, expect that in a year or so!

We talk about Cracked’s podcast on how documentarians lie. They do so with the “best of intentions” but doing so makes a meaningful argument more difficult.

We talk how difficult it is to be unbiased as a writer. In fact, it’s impossible. Every writer in some way or other has political work.

E.J. won a contest where he wrote a Haiku for John Scalzi’s book Red Shirts.

E.J. is in the book as a character. Of course, E.J. stopped reading after his character died, so he doesn’t know how the book ends. I compare this to a Jim Gaffigan bit about owning a book you haven’t read.

I certainly can’t point fingers. This post is up about two weeks later than I hoped it would be. But E.J. was supposed to be mentioned in the author’s notes…

E.J. points out that there is a blanket thank you in the author’s note. So he did get his thanks in the sense we were all Time Magazine’s person of the year in 2008.

The Audible version of Red Shirts is great. Will Wheaton is the narrator, and he’s amazing.

E.J. mentions 100% of books that use him (or his namesake) as a character have won the Hugo award. Just food for thought.

We want to be 100% clear; there is no bad blood between E.J. and John Scalzi.

E.J. says he’ll get around to finishing Red Shirts, but wants to read John Scalzi’s “Lock-In” first.

E.J. is making sure to keep his reading more gender balanced this year. As such, 50% of the books he reads need to have female authors. Definitely an awesome idea.

E.J. has read Kelly Sue Deconick’s Bitch Planet as well as Sex Criminals by her husband Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky. We have a weird genealogical discussion of works or something. Tune in!

E.J. is reading “Two Girls Fat and Thing” by Mary Gaitskill right now — or was when we recorded.

E.J. is also reading “Persona” by Genevieve Valentine. He really liked “The Girls at the Kingfisher Club“, also by Genevieve Valentine. He’s mentioned it on the podcast two times now.

E.J. also has “The Angel of Losses” by Stephanie Feldman on his radar. It won the Crawford Award, which is basically a “Fantasy Rookie of the Year Award.” Zen Cho tied for the award.

As you might be able to derive from the above list, E.J. is trying to hit two books a week. It’s an absurd schedule.

We briefly talk the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. When we recorded this, I hadn’t seen it. Next time.

Me and E.J. both loved 30 Rock.

We talk a little about House and Kal Penn leaving the show, in part because he had been on the Nerdist podcast right near the recording.

We talk a little about “Slacktivism” and the idea of how it’s hard to impact stuff. I think it’s a good thing actually.

We also talk a bit about fate vs. narrative fate.

E.J. brings up “Blame” by Michelle Huneven as an excellent book with themes of fate.

We talk a bit about how real life narrative is hardly structured and as cohesive as stories. In short, lay off the Lost finale!

In narratives, we get used to tropes and devices. This primes us for story types. This can be good and bad. For instance, I felt the New Mother was a horror after reading the intro.

I compare the narrative priming of “The New Mother” to Wrestlemania 31. I’m proud of this.

I’m not sure if I’d seen it yet, but I use a phrase that smacks of Max Landis. His movie on wrestling is a must watch.

Born Standing Up” by Steve Martin is a must read. It’s great in how he discusses joke construction.

Of course, we reference Red State as it’s the epitome of the idea of a creepy Reverend and subverted tropes in horror films.

We compare Nintendo to the WWE. Both rely heavily on nostalgia and older properties that were much more popular in the 80s and 90s.

I mention Sheik’s tale from Ocarina of Time would be a fantastic premise for a game. Or we could let Link be the protagonist for the millionth time.

Aaron Diaz did a premise for a Zelda themed game based on Anita Sarkeesian’s video series. It’s called Clockwork Empire.

We prove our nerd cred by discussing the origins of Mario/Jumpman/Donkey Kong.

We bring up the famous Henry Ford “faster horse” quote in reference to why innovation is an excellent idea. Of course, he may not have said this.

We talk the Suns and Spurs rivalries in the NBA playoffs. E.J. still thinks the winningest team in recent NBA history should have won more.

The Phoenix Suns are an example of a team that tried something new but didn’t get the success people wanted. We question why more teams didn’t try to emulate it.

E.J. uses the Spurs as an example of a team that “couldn’t win” until they did…

We wrap up comparing the Spurs to Apple.

Phew! Lots of notes. Hope you enjoyed the discussions. We’ll see you next time!

How Many Keys Can You End Zelda 2 With?

The Question

How many keys can you end Zelda 2: The Adventures of Link with?

Answer: 24 (or 0)! We’ll get there.


In Zelda 2 you require keys in the Palaces to unlock doors. You acquire keys in said Palaces. If you play the game “on rails” you’ll use almost all of the keys (I’ll elaborate in a bit.)

There are two loopholes though.

  • In Mido town, you can learn the Fairy spell. With this spell you can turn into a fairy and sneak through keyholes.
  • In new Kasuto, you can get the Magical Key. This lets you unlock any door in any Palace. Once you get this, you just keep any key you acquire and have acquired.

The one thing about the Fairy spell is that if you do have a key, it will still use it on the door. Also, you can’t pick up any items while in Fairy mode.


Our strategy is to get the Magical Key using as few keys as possible. To advance in Zelda 2, you need to acquire special items that help get rid of natural blockages in the games. Most of these are in Palaces and require keys to get. So we’ll get them in the order that will use the fewest keys and lets us advance through the game.

  1. Handy Glove: This let’s you break bricks inside of Palaces. You need it to acquire the raft in the third Palace.
  2. The Hammer: This breaks boulders on the world map. You need to get this to acquire the Fairy spell.
  3. The Raft: You need this to get the second continent.
  4. The Boots: These let you walk on water on the world map. You need these to get to the Palace on the Seas.
  5. The Flute: This gets rid of a spider of the world map and makes the Tri-Rock  Palace appear.
  6. The Magical Key: Our end goal, we can get it as soon as we have the Flute.

Now, we just have to spend the fewest keys in each Palace. We’ll map it out below!


All maps acquired from NintendoMaps, click on each for larger version.

World Map

In case you wanted the route through the world we’ll take. Obviously some back-pedaling is required. Still, this is the minimum route to get the Magical Key.

Parapa Palace – Keys Acquired (4)

Good news, the special item in this Palace is the Candle, which is needed to see in caves. This is not strictly required. We can just skip this Palace completely and come back with the Magical Key and get all four keys in the Palace.

Midoro Palace – Keys Acquired (2)

The most obnoxious of the Palaces. To get the Handy Glove requires three keys! As mentioned, you can’t use the Fairy hack to get through a door if you have a key. You also can’t pick up the Handy Glove while in Fairy format. That means you have to grab all the keys required to get to the Handy Glove, which is three. You can leave two keys in the Palace to come back for later.

Maze Palace – Keys Acquired (4)

The Island Palace has the Raft, which we need to get to the second continent. Good news, there are only two doors between us and the Raft. We can use the Fairy trick to get through the first door, and there’s a key waiting before the second door. We need to use the key on the second door, because it’s in the same room as the Raft, so we can’t be in Fairy form. That means when we come back; there will be four keys waiting for us! Score!

Island Palace – Keys Acquired (6)

We need to hit the Maze Palace for the Boots. There’s only one door between us and it. It’s in the same room as the Boots unfortunately. Still, this Palace has seven keys in total. So we spend one key to grab the Boots, and there will be six waiting for us when we return!

Palace on the Seas – Keys Acquired (4)

We just need to grab the Flute before we’re done with our quest for the Magical Key. There are three doors in our way. We can use the Fairy trick on one. Be sure not to pick up the first key though, because even in Fairy form, Link will use a key on a door if he can. We have no choice but to use two keys on the remaining doors. The first is because there are no keys before the last door. The second is the classic problem that the Flute is in the same room as a door. We leave four keys waiting for our return though.

Three-Eye Rock Palace – Keys Acquired (3)

This Palace requires you have the Magical Key to traverse. However, there are actually three keys you can pick up. I’m not sure if the level was redesigned, or if it is just legacy code — bosses tend to drop a key, there are three bosses in this Palace. You acquire the keys just by solving the Palace.

The Great Palace – Keys Acquired (1)

The Thunderbird, the second to last boss in the game, drops a key. It’s the last key in the game. Good game!

Bitter Irony

There is only one character for the number of keys. After you hit nine keys it starts using letters. A = 10, B = 11, etc. Guess what happens when you hit 24? The letter O! Now, it does look different than the 0s. Here’s what 0 keys looks like below.

Still here’s an image of Link with “N” keys right before grabbing the last one.

Even ending with “O” keys is impressive. As I mentioned the Three-Eye Rock Palace and Great Palace both have bosses that drop keys. If you pick up every key you see, you would normally finish the game with 4 keys. Anyway, 24 superfluous keys! They’re not worth anything but bragging rights. So I’m cashing em in.