Twilight Sparkle Reviews: The Inner World (Spoiler-Free!)

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The Inner World is a puzzle-based point-and-click adventure game created by Studio Fizbin.

I may not be the best pony to talk about games, but this particular one seems more like a novel than a game. It’s an interesting story, planted firmly in surreality with a few holes peering int reality, but over half of the game’s time is devoted to expanding the story. There are multiple phases of dialogue for the player to explore that don’t do much except add to the tale and provide some excellent comedy. As the Princess of Friendship and the (former) head (and only) librarian of the Golden Oak Library, I can appreciate a good story better than anypony. And to be honest, the story itself is good. It’s a humorous glimpse into a strange, yet charming, world filled with impossible characters and a wonderful air of fantasy. If it wasn’t for the puzzles, it could almost pass as a visual novel. The puzzles themselves are nothing to shake a hoof at. Some of them require pink pony levels of logic, while others are more tame and rational. In all honesty, I prefer the ones that are rational. Having to pull Pinkie Pie into my house and have her solve certain puzzles for me was…….disheartening. Fortunately, once you comprehend the game’s unique way of thinking, the puzzles become a lot easier. And for those who just want to get through it without spending ten minutes on puzzles, an in-game walkthrough is provided. But if you’re going to enjoy the game for its story, you have to at least somewhat enjoy it for its animation as well. The frequent cut scenes are visually decent. The style of animation suggests something childish, yet the game is clearly intended for older audiences due to its mature humor and swearing. All in all, I’d recommend this game to anypony/anyone who can appreciate a surreal setting, enjoys puzzles, and adores games with interesting storylines.

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Fan Fiction Resources

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Some helpful resources for brand new authors. Note: These aren’t writing tips, just some helpful resources for those trying to write their first MLP fan fiction or trying to improve those they’re already working on.

1. Pony Creator

http://generalzoi.deviantart.com/art/Pony-Creator-v3-397808116

Trying to figure out a look for an original character in your fan fiction? For inspiration, try hitting the “Random” button and see what pops up. Or try looking through the hairstyles, eye types, etc. and put something together yourself.

2. Pony Name Generator

http://pony.namegeneratorfun.com/

Thinking up pony names can be a struggle, simply because they’re not like human names. While there is a plethora of websites that can give you human names, finding pony names is nearly impossible….unless you use a Pony Name Generator. Randomizing works best if you’re just desperate for a name.

3. List of ponies

http://mlp.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_ponies

In case you’ve forgotten a name and need it in a hurry. This list also includes the offical names of several background ponies that you may not know.

Opinion: My Little Pony References in Video Games

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onies are everywhere. Ever since My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic became popular with adults, the amount of “ponified” content has skyrocketed. A lot of non-fans find this to be annoying, as they complain about ponies being “everywhere”. They are mainly talking about fans crossing over ponies with things that have nothing to do with ponies. But it’s not that bad, is it? It’s easy to ignore… However, something else has awakened along with this pony trend. Although this isn’t nearly as rampant as the ponification, sometimes video game designers will put specific nods to the fandom or the show into their games, even if said game has otherwise nothing to do with ponies. Usually these nods to the show or fandom are so obscure that only people who have watched a lot of the show or are deep into the fandom will even recognize them as such. But when these little nods are brought to the attention of non-fans who happen to enjoy that particular game, they tend to become upset. The question is: Is putting these little “shout-outs”, if you will, to the show and the fandom in games enjoyed by fans and non-fans alike going too far with the pony trend?

Shortest answer: Yes and no. It’s not bad, exactly, as these references to the show will only be recognized by fans in the first place. Non-fans can’t really complain unless they somehow stumble across the information. And even if they do, does it really effect the game that much? A character saying “20% cooler”, one of Rainbow Dash’s signature lines, doesn’t change the gameplay at all. If a non-fan happens to find out what show it’s from, it’s their own fault if they get annoyed at it being included. Video games, especially popular ones, tend to make references to all sorts of franchises. Why should My Little Pony, flavor of the year, be neglected? Nevertheless, there’s another side to this. An article on HorseNews.com pointed out that the reason video game makers do this is simply to remain relevant. It’s not them supporting Bronies, saying they like the show, or anything like that. They just want to make the game even more popular by leaping on the new “it” things. Just like how The Simpsons has started “upgrading”, for lack of a better word, to fit in with the new generation. In nearly every episode, one of the characters uses their own version of an iPad, iPhone, etc. In earlier seasons, the characters used generic flip phones that clearly didn’t belong to any particular brand. It was around the twenty-second season that this changed. In the case of video games, it’s pretty much the same thing.

Bigger question: Should video games stop doing this? Is it just mindless pandering? While it is mindless pandering in a sense, there’s no good reason for them to stop. The references don’t impact how good or bad the game is, especially since a lot of players aren’t going to understand them. And, in a smaller sense, finding these references can be a bit of a treat for certain Bronies. It makes it clear that others, or at least video game designers, acknowledge that they exist without treating them like deplorable outcasts.

Why do people like making ponies scary?

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Cupcakes. Rainbow Factory. Cheerilee’s Garden. “Smile HD”. What do all of these have in common? They’re scary/gory representations of the characters we’ve grown to love. These fan works are either loved or hated by the fandom and outsiders at large. Quite a few fans consider these types of things to be horrendous and disgusting, while others applaud them. So why the fascination with making cute, cheerful characters scary? What do blood and guts add to the beautiful, ideal world of Ponyville?

Bronies aren’t the first, nor will they be the last, people to do this to characters. Five Nights at Freddy’s, one of the most recent and well-known horror games, takes animatronic animals and turns them into murderers for the premise of the game. Granted, the animatronics in the first game aren’t what would be considered “cute”. The second game, however, features several new designs that make them look more kid-friendly and even cute to a lot of people. The old designs are still there, but the new, more adorable, animatronics are still after the main character of the game. A lot of people in the FNAF fandom have taken the scary characters and sexualized them or made them cute through certain fan works, which is pretty much the reverse of Cupcakes or “Smile HD”. Horror games are known for taking things we would in real life consider innocent or cute, such as little girls, babies, or dolls, and turning them into horrifying monsters.

But why do some Bronies do it with the adorable characters of MLP:FIM? Because horror is popular for a reason. A lot of people enjoy being scared. Why else would there be such a huge market for good horror games like Five Nights at Freddy’s, DreadOut, and Nightmare House 2? If there weren’t a lot of people, gamers and otherwise, who liked to be scared, the entire horror genre would have died out. Turning innocent ponies into terrifying monsters is the same as turning little girls or dolls into terrifying monsters: It’s unexpected, it’s twisted, and it appeals to those who love everything about horror. In such a diverse fandom, there are bound to be a plentiful amount of horror fans who, despite loving the show for what it is, like seeing their favorite characters perverted into the same creatures they’ve come to know and love in various popular horror games.

Of course, some people are going to complain about it. Just like Rule 34, some people don’t like to see it and will become uncomfortable or enraged when they do. The solution? Tag your stuff accordingly. There’s not much you can do about YouTube or any of those big sites, but if you post a grimdark fan fiction or something of that nature, remember to put it in the proper category so only people who enjoy grimdark will find it. It’s the best way to stop people complaining about “disgusting” MLP:FIM fan works: Just make sure those who aren’t into the stuff probably won’t stumble across it by accident, thus they have no reason to make a fuss.

Art can be found here:  http://elana-louise.deviantart.com/art/My-Little-Pony-Cupcakes-2-378154474

Why Tirek’s Plan Almost Worked (A Theory)

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Tirek

Why was Tirek one of the best MLP villains? The majority of the fans were impressed by how through his plan was. He did everything right, from befriending Discord to biding his time before he struck. Unlike Queen Chrysalis, Nightmare Moon, and Discord, he did not make the mistake of underestimating his foes. He made sure to gain as much power as possible before he faced the princesses with the intent of stealing their magic. If the Tree of Harmony hadn’t provided the Mane Six with Rainbow Power, Tirek certainly would have won in the end. They didn’t have anything to go up against him: Twilight had just given him her alicorn magic, Discord’s magic had also been taken away, nopony in Equestria could aid them, the Elements of Harmony were gone, and Tirek was now the most powerful being in all of Equestria. But why did Tirek neglect making the same mistakes that led to the defeat of the other villains? What made him special, besides the fact that he appeared in G1? It’s simply that, unlike him, the other villains were too objective-guided. Their plans weren’t thought out too much because they mainly concerned themselves with the end result. To break it down a little:

Queen Chrysalis wanted food for her subjects. She kidnapped Princess Cadence and masqueraded as her to feed herself and, as an extension, take control of Shining Armor for her own ends. The simplicity of the plan and her naïve assumption that nothing could stop her shows that she didn’t take the time to consider alternate possibilities. She thought that it was enough to keep the Mane Six away from the Elements and make sure that her Changelings got into Canterlot. Unlike Tirek, she didn’t allow space for variables because the objective was the only thing important to her.

Discord only wanted to turn Equestria into a place of pure chaos. He had a lot of time to formulate a better plan while encased in stone, but he instead spent those centuries brooding over his fate. By the time he escaped, he only wanted revenge. If he actually used a bit more of his brain power, he probably could have made himself undefeatable. On the other hoof/hand, Discord enjoys jerking others around. It’s possible that he simply didn’t care and it was all a game to him.

Nightmare Moon was a creature of pure bitterness. Her goal was to shroud the land in eternal night and nothing more. Perhaps, somewhere deep down in the less corrupted part of Luna’s mind, she was hoping to be defeated and turned back to her original self.

Before anyone asks, I’m not going to touch on Sunset Shimmer or the Dazzlings. The latter I’ll be dealing with in another post.

Quickie Reviews: Season 3

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Episode 1-2: The Crystal Empire

Synopsis: Princess Celestia gives Twilight Sparkle a test: She must figure out how to protect the Crystal Empire from the wrath of King Sombra, the cruel unicorn king who used to rule it.

Pros:

-Good songs

-New pony race introduced

-Funny Pinkie Pie antics

-Continuity

-Heroic Spike

-Excellent moral

-Good villain design

-New location

Cons:

-Non-threatening villain

-Somewhat slow start

-Twilight’s stupidity

Trivia: King Sombra is the first, and so far the only, villain to die.

Episode 3: Too Many Pinkie Pies

Synopsis: When Pinkie Pie can’t have fun with all of her friends at once, she uses the Mirror Pond to make duplicates of herself. But these brainless clones wreak havoc in Ponyville, prompting Pinkie’s friends to search for the real one among the fakes.

Pros:

-Pinkie Pie episode

-Good moral

-Character development

-Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie interaction

-Interesting dilemma

-Excellent Pinkie Pie antics

Cons:

-Obvious plot device

-Stupidity of Twilight Sparkle

-Questionable morality

Trivia: The real Pinkie Pie is a shade darker than the clones from the Mirror Pond.

Episode 4: One Bad Apple

Synopsis: Applebloom’s cousin Babs comes to visit, but the CMC are discouraged when she chooses to befriend Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon.

Pros:

-Great voice-acting

-Catchy song

-CMC episode

-Good Pinkie Pie antics

-Possible foreshadowing

-New character introduced

-Continuity

Cons:

-Unrealistic resolution

-Bad moral

-No real consequences for the antagonists

Trivia: Babs’s strong Brooklyn accent and her line in a later episode (“Forgetta about it!”) is most likely a reference to The Sopranos.

Episode 5: Magic Duel

Synopsis: Trixie returns, this time sporting an amulet that enhances her powers and has caused her to become even more corrupted. She challenges Twilight to a magic duel and, with the power of the Alicorn Amulet, triumphs.

Pros:

-Continuity

-Return of Trixie

-Character development

-Demonstration of how Twilight’s magic has advanced

-Return of Zecora

-Rule 63 Applejack

-New land revealed

Cons:

-Questionable moral

-Fluttershy abuse

-Origins of Alicorn Amulet never explained

-Quick resolution

Trivia: Trixie trapping the entire town in a dome could be a reference to The Simpsons Movie, as well as the classic novel “Under The Dome” by Stephen King.

Episode 6: Sleepless In Ponyville

Synopsis: Scootaloo is thrilled to attend a camping trip with Rainbow Dash and hopes to adopt her as a sister figure. However, she becomes the victim of her own fears after a scary story. She is more scared of revealing her fears to Rainbow Dash than the fears themselves.

Pros:

-Scootaloo episode

-Character development

-Heart-warming Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo interaction

-Continuity

-New relationship formed

-Unexpected Princess Luna

-Good moral

Cons:

-Lazy Rarity

-Convenience

Trivia: Rainbow Dash’s scary story about the “Olden Pony” resembles a well-known type of horror story in which someone steals from a dead person and the person comes back as a ghost to recover what was pilfered from them.

Episode 7: Wonderbolts Academy

Synopsis: Rainbow Dash is accepted into the Wonderbolts Academy, but finds herself paired up with a reckless pegasus named Lightning Dust.

Pros:

-Rainbow Dash episode

-Continuity

-Pinkie Pie antics

-Return of Spitfire

-Return of many background ponies

-Good moral

-Appropriate consequences

Cons:

-Rather forced happy ending

-Somewhat forced moral

-Twilight neglecting to rescue everyone with her magic

Trivia: Many fans were surprised at Spitfire’s behavior, compared to her friendly behavior at the Grand Galloping Gala. The simple explanation is that she was being her usual amiable self at the Gala. At the academy she was acting the part of the strict drill sergeant for the benefit of the students.

Episode 8: Apple Family Reunion

Synopsis: Applejack is put in charge of the annual Apple Family reunion. Her determination to make this their best reunion ever ends up inadvertently ruining the fun of everyone.

Pros:

-Applejack episode

-Catchy song

-Apple family expanded

-Return of Babs

-Continuity

-Excellent Apple family interaction

-Decent lesson

Cons:

-Applejack’s stupidity

-Many southern stereotypes

-No Braeburn lines

Trivia: Aunt and Uncle Orange, last seen in “Cutie Mark Chronicles”, are among the family members gathered in the photograph taken in front of the barn.

Episode 9: Spike At Your Service

Synopsis: After Applejack saves Spike from a pack of Timberwolves, the latter decides he owes her a life debt.

Pros:

-Spike episode

-Applejack and Spike interaction

-Return of the Timberwolves

-Excellent comedy

Cons:

-Spike abuse

-Spike’s stupidity

-Predictable

-Enemy overcome too easily

Trivia: The Timberwolves have the same magical aura as Queen Chrysalis, but there does not seem to be a connection between the two.

Episode 10: Keep Calm and Flutter On

Synopsis: Discord is released from his stone imprisonment on Princess Celestia’s orders. She believes that the Mane Six, especially Fluttershy, will be able to reform the former villain and convince him to use his magic for good.

Pros:

-Continuity

-Return of Discord

-Discord and Fluttershy interaction

-Excellent Discord antics

Cons:

-Unrealistic resolution

-Passive aggressive Fluttershy

-Questionable morality

-Somewhat bad moral in context

Trivia: This episode marks the beginning of Discord’s ascension into a recurring character, although this is his last appearance of the season.

Episode 11: Just for Sidekicks

Synopsis: When the Mane Six travel to the Crystal Empire to meet the head of the Equestria Games, Spike is left to tend to all of their pets in exchange for gems. He finds out quickly that the animals are more trouble than he could have anticipated, particularly mischievous Angel Bunny.

Pros:

-Spike episode

-Continuity

-Equestria Games arc established

-Spike and CMC interaction

-Season 2 callbacks

-Zecora

Cons:

-Rather boring

-Cliche storyline

-Spike abuse

-Animal abuse

-Angel Bunny’s cruelty

Trivia: There are many Season 2 callbacks in this episode. Big Macintosh and Cheerilee are seen walking side by side, a reference to “Hearts and Hooves Day”. The nerdy pony that Rarity manipulated in “Putting Your Hoof Down” is glimpsed. Screw Loose, the fan-made name for the mental patient pony, from “Read It And Weep” is seen as well.

Episode 12: Games Ponies Play

Synopsis: The Mane Six are meant to impress the Equestria Games inspector, but they accidentally pick up the wrong pony at the train station. Meanwhile, Rarity fills in for the hairdresser that canceled on Princess Cadence.

Pros:

-Continuity

-Filly Rainbow Dash

-Comedic sub-plot

-Excellent Rarity scenes

-Great voice-acting

-New character introduced

Cons:

-The stupidity of the Mane Six

-Forced happy ending

-Somewhat lackluster writing

-Unrealistic conclusion

Trivia: Supposedly there was a different, more plausible ending planned for this episode, but it was lost during production.

Episode 13: Magical Mystery Cure

Synopsis: After performing a spell, Twilight Sparkle finds that all of her friends’ Cutie Marks have been switched and so have their true selves. This causes havoc in Ponyville as the Mane Six try to adjust to destinies that do not belong to them.

Pros:

-Great songs

-Interesting problem

-Excellent voice-acting by Tara Strong

-Continuity

-Vinyl Scratch cameo

-Princess Celestia sings

Cons:

-Problem solved too quickly

-Feels like a two-parter

-Arguably too many songs

-Obvious marketing ploy

-Princess Luna’s bad dress design

Trivia: Originally, according to Lauren Faust’s original vision, Princess Luna and Princess Celestia were going to be the only alicorns in the series. This is one of the reasons Twilight Sparkle becoming an alicorn was looked down upon by a great deal of the fandom. However, Twilight Sparkle becoming a princess, was planned from the very beginning.