Monday, November 6, 2006

Revenge of the Blob

And on a far less-groundshaking note, I came across a second noteworthy sea creature today. This particular species is not new to the world of science, but I feel most people don’t know about it.

And they should.

Being the lame-ass that I am, I spent a work break perusing Wikipedia articles on the EarthBound series of video games. This is a Nintendo franchise that has seen little release in the United States despite its greatness. One of the recurring characters in the game is a strange little fellow named Mr. Saturn.

Here is Mr. Saturn as he appears in his original, two-dimensional form. The limits of the Super Nintendo mean you can't really go for a lot of detail, of course.

And here is Mr. Saturn, realized in three dimensions for his appearance in Smash Bros. The various playable characters can chuck him at enemies.

As you can see from this images, Mr. Saturn is little more than a walking nose with a funny haircut. In EarthBound, these little fellows — who are all named “Mr. Saturn” — speak a strange broken English and, despite their outlandish appearance, are happy to help the game’s heroes. (They also irritatingly intersperse their speech with the interjection “BOING!” for no apparent reason.) Next to nobody has ever played these games, but Mr. Saturn showed up as an item in Super Smash Bros. Melee — a Nintendo mascot free-for-all, for the uninitiated. Even with the Nintendo Gamecube’s high resolution, a lot of people who suddenly found their character grasping a Mr. Saturn mid-battle probably wondered what the hell he was.

In any case, the Wikipedia article on Mr. Saturn — or Mr. Saturns, depending on how you interpret this characteristically Japanese take on the group and the individual — notes that he somewhat resembles “a blobfish.” The term seems made-up. Given the article’s context, I wondered if it was a Pok√©mon or something, so I decided to click the link to the Wikipedia entry for “blobfish.”

This little-seen species — Psychrolutes marcidus — apparently lives in the deepest waters off the coast of Australia. The blobfish is composed mostly of jelly and lacks muscles. It floats about with a gas-filled bladder and eats merely by waiting for something edible to swim into it. Fascinating, no? Tragically, its Wikipedia page lacks a photo of the beast, so I had to turn to Google image search for a result.

It’s shocking, I suppose, but I don’t know why I expected anything different. There's a passing resemblance, I suppose. Maybe if Mr. Saturn melted.

Those of you who followed my other blog project, Die Wunderkammer, should know that I have a soft spot for the weird-goofy aesthetic of the EarthBound games, as the game's characters figured into several posts:


  1. I feel like an idiot commenting on something two years old, but I just had to say I love to play Earthbound from time to time, even if I discovered it late in life and on an emulator rom. Personally, I think it's in the top 5 minimum of best rpg videogames of all time.

  2. Yeah, it's a phenomenal game. Rumor has it that it will soon be on the Wii Virtual Console, which is cool because then a lot more people might get a chance to play it.

  3. That'd be awesome if it stayed true to the original. I just hope it doesn't turn into one of those things that had an underground following and is appreciated by a few people and then becomes so bloated and over exposed that it is no longer something you'd want to like.

  4. Looks more like Kilroy to me.