Episode Review

The Big Game

Friday, September 29, 2006, 10:00 AM - 5:03 PM

Summary (10:00 AM - 10:02 AM)

Since Seasons 1 and 2 of the series will be coming out on DVD on February 13, 2007, I will not be including summaries in these reviews for the rest of Season 2. If you're reading this review before you get the DVD set, you can read a novelization that I wrote of the episode at http://ldloveszh.tripod.com/episodes/2biggame.html

Misc. Tidbits (10:02 AM - 10:03 AM)

The episode was written by Dennis O'Flaherty.

The episode originally aired on Saturday, October 20, 1990, as the seventh episode of Season 2 and the twentieth episode of the series.

I first saw this episode on NBC, then on The Family Channel, and finally "Captain N & The Video Game Masters".

Interesting Notes (10:03 AM - 2:57 PM)

The title is white with no quotes.

Kevin can do a converted kickflip on a skateboard.

California Games requires tickets for admission.

Kevin and Lana can surf - on the same surfboard.

Kevin knows a cheerleader named Stacey back home. He helped her study for her Algrebra test. He asked her for a date, but she was busy.

Kevin was on the junior varsity swim team.

Kevin's Zapper beams are blue in this episode.

Kevin's weapons don't lose power in this episode.

Great Lines (10:51 AM - 2:58 PM)

Gameboy: "Mondonose does not compute. Please re-enter data."
Mega Man: "You'll have to get Kevin to teach you Californish, Gameboy."

Dr. Wily: "Captain Nitwit's gonna be one sorry California dude."

Kevin: "Hey, what are geargoyles doing here? They're from Megaland."
Lana: "I don't know, but they're not gonna make a clown out of me."

Rick: "This better not be some kind of joke."
Kevin: "If it is, the joke's definitely on us!"

Kevin: "I think we'll be safer inside."
Rick: "I think maybe you're right. Let's move it, guys!"

Mother Brain: "Do I have to be with you every single second to get things done right?!"
Eggplant Wizard: "Yes, Mother Brain. Uh, I - I mean no, Mother Brain!"

Mother Brain: "Just call me Big Momma Prom Queen!"

Stacey: "Oh, my! You're both so gallant! Which one should we choose, Lana?"
Lana: "Be my guest; take both of them!"

Romeo: "Rick, we gotta bust out of here and make a run for it!"
Rick: "You been playing without a helmet again, Romeo? Where are we gonna run to?"

Mega Man: "Captain N will know what to do."
Fat kid: "No computer wimp on the tiddly winks squad is gonna tell me what to do!"
Kevin: "It's the swim team, dude!"
Fat kid: "Well, la-dee-da! How'd you earn this? Doin' a belly flop?!"

Kevin: "I better tell Gameboy to keep an eye on her. She could get in trouble."
Lana: "I hope that means you're gonna keep your eye on the game."

(after seeing the Robot Masters on Dr. Wily's team)
Stacey: "Geez. I hope I know enough cheers!"

Simon: "I know you explained football to them, Kevin, but are you sure they understand?"
Kevin: "Well, look on the bright side, Simon. At least we won the toss!"

Stacey: "Gimme and 'N'! Gimme a 'Team'!"

Lana: "I hope you like chasing things as much as Duke does."

Lana: "What in Videoland is Wily up to now?! Oh, whatever it is, he's not gonna get away with if I can stop him, and I will!"

Lana: "Kevin, are cheerleaders chosen for their nobility where you come from?"
Kevin: "Uh, not exactly."

Dumb Lines (2:58 PM)


Rant (Friday, September 29, 2006, 10:08 AM - 5:03 PM)

This episode was written by Dennis O'Flaherty. The other episode written by Dennis O'Flaherty that I've reviewed so far is "Having a Ball", which is pretty good. How well does he do this time?

This is the sole episode with scenes on Megaland in all of Season 2. Enjoy it.

"Skull Castle" doesn't look anything like it does in the "Mega Man" games. It doesn't even have a skull on it.

Competition energy? Generated from playing games? Okay, so, whenever someone competes in Videoland, they give off "invisible energy"? This is such a lame plot device.

Metal Man is mostly red and yellow with some brown in "Mega Man II". Here, he's silver.

What does Dr. Wily mean by "condensed" competition energy? Does he mean concentrated as in having the extra, nonessential stuff removed?

When we see the Palace of Power, it looks like it's nighttime. When we see Kevin from behind, it looks like it's dusk.

We learn that Kevin is from California. It was revealed in the comic books before Season 2 and in Volume 8 of "Nintendo Power" before Season 1, but this is the first on-screen mention of it.

Mega Man exclaiming "Wow! Dude! Skaters rule!" sounds so weird. :P

Why did Mega Man have to make a new skateboard for Kevin? Did his old skateboard break?

How does Dr. Wily know valley speak to program the robot?

The N Team's living room looks different here than it does in "The Most Dangerous Game Master" (which, perhaps coincidentally, is another episode where we learn about Kevin's past).

In one of the biggest animation mistakes ever, there are 2 Lanas and 2 Simons on the couch! How could they possibly screw that up?!

It looks like the N Team has gotten a new TV set since "The Most Dangerous Game Master".

For a show called "Castlevania Bandstand", the Ungrateful Undead are oddly performing on a sunny beach. That's why, for the longest time, I thought that this is part of Dr. Wily's broadcast.

The tune that the Ungrateful Undead plays is the same tune that the moblin band plays in "Having a Ball".

How could the N Team possibly be fooled by an obvious robot?

How could there possibly be a correct answer to such a subjective question?

We learn a bit about how TV contests work in Videoland. You can simply "vidspeak" (call out) the answer, and your winning tickets come out of a slot at the bottom of your TV set. Of course, this is too impractical to actually work. Anyone holding a contest would be bombarded by people's shouts.

How do tickets to California Games work, anyway? Do you have to show them before you enter the world, or does someone eventually come by to check?

I wonder if Dr. Wily counterfeited the tickets or actually paid for them.

Dr. Wily can watch the N Team on his monitor in Skull Castle. Great. Him, too. Well, I guess that explains how he knows valley speak, anyway.

We see some people on California Games just before the N Team arrives. After that, we won't see anyone on this world besides the N Team, the Earth kids, and the bad guys.

Why is Lana happy that Kevin will stay with them a little longer? Was she really worried that Kevin would decide "Screw this. I'm goin' home."?

Anyway, Lana's comment indicates that Kevin isn't trapped in Videoland and can actually go home whenever he wants.

Duke winning the rollerskating contest against Mega Man is teh cute. :P

How does Kevin suddenly have his skateboard with him? He didn't have it when they warped into the world.

How did the N Team change back into their normal clothes? Where did the bag come from? The N Team brought nothing with them to this world.

How can Dr. Wily's Warp Zone Shifter open warps between Videoland and Earth? Judging by the map on the machine, it would seem to be limited to Videoland only.

Furthermore, how can Dr. Wily move something from one world to another? I thought it only allowed him to "open and shut warp zones at will" - and only "just as soon as all these energy jars are full" at that. He's got only 2 energy jars full currently, and he's still able to open a warp.

Why does Kevin say "I don't believe it" before the school actually appears?

We learn that Kevin went to Northridge High (according to the closed captions) - or, if you go by the letters on the gym, "North Ridge High". It's worth noting that it's never stated in the cartoon series that Kevin is from Northridge, California - only that he's from California and attended Northridge High.

Try as I might, though, I haven't found any evidence of a Northridge High School in Northridge, California, present or past, online. It seems to simply be a made-up school. The closest that I've found is Northridge Academy High School. It's a small public school with an enrollment of less than 1,000 students, but it covers only grades 9 and 10, and it opened on September 9(!!!), 2004. The school's official home page is at http://www.lausd.net/Northridge_Academy_HS/

Some of you might wonder how Dr. Wily knew to bring Kevin's school and friends to Videoland. With the amount of spying that Mother Brain and Dr. Wily do on the N Team in the Palace of Power (and the fact that MB can see Kevin's life in Earth in her all-knowing computer mind mirror), they probably know all that there is to know about Kevin by now.

Stacey is spelled with an "e", according to the closed captions. Without the actual script, that's all that we have to go on.

It's cute how Lana looks jealous when Kevin meets Stacey. :P

Stacey looks a lot like Lana. Maybe Kevin's crush on Stacey explains his crush on Lana?

I wonder if Stacey's voice actor (whoever she is) voiced Dr. Wily's robot earlier in the episode.

Kevin calls himself "Kevin Keene" in this episode. This is in agreement with the article in Volume 8 of "Nintendo Power" that was published before Season 1 and the comic books that were published between Seasons 1 and 2. In "The Most Dangerous Game Master", the android duplicate of Mike Vincent kept calling Kevin "Keene" throughout the episode. While I always assumed that he was calling Kevin by his last name, I realize that some people might not have understood that, so I'm mentioning here that this episode firmly establishes Kevin's last name as Keene in the cartoon continuity.

We learn that Kevin was on the junior varsity swim team. Well, that explains his letterman jacket.

Incidentally, since I go by the original air dates to determine what happened when (nothing says it's true; it's just what I go by), and since Kevin and Rick are speaking in the present tense about their team positions, I've decided the following: Since Kevin was on the junior varsity swim team in the previous school year (when he got pulled into Videoland) and still is (at least in spirit), Kevin was in 9th grade in Season 1 and would be in 10th grade in Season 2.

Likewise, Rick Walker, being captain of the varsity football team when Kevin last saw him and still is, was in 11th grade in Season 1 and in 12th grade in Season 2.

The other two guys would be in 11th or 12th grade, and Stacey is anyone's guess.

I can't tell if Lana really believes that the fat football player is the King of California, or if she's just being sarcastic.

Rick mentions Saturday football practice. This episode aired on a Saturday. Coincidence? =)

Why isn't Rick - or anyone else - surprised at being animated?

If Rick and the others were really coming out of the gym for Saturday football practice, then why isn't the rest of the football team either on the field or in the gym? Did these three guys decide to do their own mini football practice? For that matter, why is Stacey there? Did she come there just to cheer them on during a practice?

What happened to the rock formation that was there earlier? Did it suddenly get warped to where Northridge High was on Earth?

When we see Rick after Kevin tells everybody to hit the dirt, "Northridge" is one word on the school gym.

When Simon asks "Huh?", the shoulders of Lana's shirt are pink.

Dr. Wily used up only 1 jar of energy in getting Kevin's friends here? If he can get four people and a school (or at least a school gym and a football field) here, then he should have been able to send the N Team to the Earthquake Warp Zone by now.

I should mention that the Earthquake Warp Zone that Dr. Wily keeps mentioning throughout the episode isn't in any video game, but you knew that; right?

What does Brain Lords M.C. mean?

Does Stacey really believe that being inside of a video game is romantic, or is she using it as an excuse to flirt with her new hero, Kevin?

Hehe, Lana looks jealous again.

Why does Dr. Wily demand the Palace of Power and the throne of Videoland? By getting the throne of Videoland, his team gets the Palace as well. Lana confirmed that in "Videolympics".

I like how Stacey mispronounces "gallant" by stressing the second syllable. :P

Why does Stacey look upset when Lana says she can take both guys? Or is she just upset about the guys fighting?

When Kevin, Gameboy, and Lana gasp, the shoulders of Lana's shirt are pink.

Rick calls the blond football player (who looks kind of like Simon) "Romeo". That might just be a nickname because of his flirting with Stacey and Lana earlier, but, without the script, that's all that we have to go on, so I'll be calling him Romeo for the rest of this review.

Anyway, the players' team numbers are:
Rick: 12
Romeo: 51
Unnamed fat kid: 00

Lana says they asked for the best from Earth, and the Ultimate Warp Zone chose Kevin as their Game Master. This contradicts "Kevin In Videoland", where the N Team isn't shown asking the Ultimate Warp Zone for anyone. Maybe she made it up to sound more supportive of Kevin?

It's odd that we don't actually see Mother Brain arriving on California Games. The warp opens, and then Mother Brain is in Dr. Wily's face. Weird.

Dr. Wily's description of what will happen is weird. The Warp Zone Shifter will shut down every warp (yes, he said warp!) on California Games but the one in the hot dog stand, allowing the bad guys to escape. So...when will it send the N Team into the Earthquake Warp Zone?

When Dr. Wily points at the map to presumably indicate the warp in the hot dog stand, he actually points at the Palace of Power. California Games isn't even on the map, since it's a recreation of the (grossly inaccurate) map of Videoland in the Season 1 opening theme.

The letters on the gym spell "North Ridge High" again at the beginning of the next scene.

Why does Kevin say "we better get outta there"? Shouldn't he say "we better get out there"?

Also, how did Kevin know to call Mother Brain "the Brain Lord"? Did he see her out the window?

The N Team's football numbers are:
Mega Man: 3 (for his age, perhaps?)
Kid Icarus: none (he just wears a helmet)
Simon: 61
Kevin: 7

Kevin was wearing his letterman jacket at the beginning of the scene, and now he's suddenly wearing a football uniform. Kevin's one fast dresser (see "Happy Birthday, Megaman").

I love how Lana imitates Stacey's giggle. :P

None of the Robot Masters look like they do in "Mega Man II".

We get the official spelling of the team's name in this episode: "N Team". No hyphen. At least not in the cartoon continuity.

This episode's featured song (meaning something other than instrumental versions of "Louie, Louie" and "Wipe-Out"), which plays during the beginning of the football game, is something that I call "Having a Ball". It's also in "Queen of the Apes". I've heard that it's possibly a parody of "Rock This Town" by The Stray Cats. Does anyone know for sure?

Someone (possibly someone in the audience) yells "No fair!" at one point during the game. However, since it happens after Heat Man blasts Romeo into the air, and Bubble Man catches the football, it wouldn't make sense for a bad guy to yell it, yet it doesn't sound like any of the good guys.

Lana's line to the robotic dog, "I hope you like chasing things as much as Duke does", is nice continuity with "How's Bayou". It might be coincidental, though.

Duke ruined the football. Oh, well. The game is over, anyway. :P

Why would Dr. Wily's energy gauge burn just because the jars are full? Did he build that in as a notice to himself? If so, then wouldn't a simple beep be more comfortable?

Why does Mother Brain speed up and start circling the hot dog stand? Did the power speed up her motor? Shouldn't it have burned it out and stopped her dead in her tracks instead?

Is the Landfill Warp Zone that Simon mentions the same thing as the Garbage World seen in "In Search of the King"?

Speaking of the King, as long as Lana was altering the Warp Zone Shifter, couldn't she have opened a warp to Mirror World to free her father while she was at it? Or would that have left not enough power to send Kevin's friends back to Earth?

Awww, Stacey looks genuinely disappointed that Kevin's not coming back with her.

Lana says that Kevin's friends will forget about Videoland when they go back to Earth. She says it's automatic. Then she adds that so will Kevin, when he goes back. This brings up all sorts of problems. As I mentioned way back in my review of "How's Bayou" in 2001, Lana's "Some other time, Kevin" line is significant, and I'd tell you why in a later review. This is that review. I realize some people don't consider that line canon, because it was cut in version 2 (the "normal" version), but it does seem like Lana's revelation in this episode contradicts that earlier line. Either that, or Lana's lying to Kevin now to try to get him to stay in Videoland.

Also, even if Lana is telling the truth now, Kevin was brought to Videoland by the Ultimate Warp Zone, some kind of entity. Why would Dr. Wily's Warp Zone Shifter operate the same way? Who's to say that Kevin's friends don't retain their memories of Videoland?

Regardless of whether they retain their memories of Videoland or not, they're gonna have a lot of explaining to do back on Earth. Surely, someone noticed that the school (or at least the gym and football field) was missing.

Why was a pair of red pompons on the ground? They aren't Stacey's. Her pompons are white.

The episode ends on a cute note - with Lana delighted that Kevin's more impressed with her than Stacey.

Lesson: Looks aren't everything. Be impressed by strong, heroic girls.

This episode is above average. It's similar to "Videolympics" (the rule of Videoland decided by the outcome of a sporting event), but that might just be coincidental. Storywise, you could say that the N Team learned their lesson the first time and are now more cautious. "Videolympics" done right, if you will.

It's nice to learn more about Kevin's life on Earth before he came to Videoland. Also, this episode is just enjoyable to watch. It's fun. That's very important.

There are some unanswered questions, though. What is the fat kid's name? Without the script, we won't know. Also, what happened to Kevin and Simon's clothes? Did they put them somewhere safe, or were they in the gym and got sent back to Earth?

I'm also upset that we didn't get to see Lana in a cheerleader outfit. :P

As for what to cut out, I can't think of any filler in this episode.

Overall, "The Big Game" is a good episode.

Usefulness ratings:

Kevin: 1 (defeating the Lightning Lords)
Lana: 3 (distracting the robotic dog, getting rid of the bad guys, sending Kevin's friends back home)
Simon: 0
Mega Man: 0
Kid Icarus: 1 (defeating the flying robot)
Duke: 0
Gameboy: 0

For once, Lana scores higher than Kevin! I know! I was surprised as well! I don't count Kevin distracting the robotic dog, because it ran through the flames anyway. I also don't count anything that anyone did in the football game for the same reason that I didn't count anything that anyone did in the Videolympics: it's all futile.

The running total usefulness ratings for this season so far are:

Kevin: 59 (8 episodes)
Lana: 14 (8 episodes)
Simon: 10 (8 episodes)
Mega Man: 16 (8 episodes)
Kid Icarus: 16 (8 episodes)
Duke: 7 (8 episodes)
Gameboy: 13 (8 episodes)

Lana is still ahead of Simon in this season's competition for the moment, and she's overtaken Gameboy for the moment as well.

The running total usefulness ratings for the series so far are:

Kevin: 106 (21 episodes)
Lana: 23 (21 episodes)
Simon: 31 (21 episodes)
Mega Man: 33 (21 episodes)
Kid Icarus: 39 (21 episodes)
Duke: 21 (21 episodes)
Gameboy: 13 (8 episodes)

Lana has surpassed Duke for the moment and risen to 5th place. We'll see how long that she stays there.

That's the end of my review of "The Big Game". I don't have a confirmed episode for Saturday, October 27, 1990, or Saturday, November 3, 1990, but I need to review only one more episode to get back on track to review episode 23, "The Lost City of Kongoland". I have 2 episodes left to review without original air dates, "The Trojan Dragon" and "Germ Wars". I'll review "The Trojan Dragon" next. See you all in my next review!

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