Title: Monster Party
Developer: Human Entertainment
Oh, boy. Here we go.
Monster Party was released for the NES by Bandai in 1989 in the US, developed by Human Entertainment (of Kabuki Quantum Fighter fame, maybe). For whatever reason, Bandai never released the game in Japan, and this only adds to the obscurity and mystery surrounding the game.
Monster Party isn’t like most other NES games. It holds something of a cult status among retro gamers and collectors, both due to the game’s mysterious history and for its…aesthetic. While remaining in its average NES platformer obscurity, Monster Party saw a rise in its cult status after a series of Japanese Famicom prototype screenshots surfaced in the early 2000s on the internet.
Let this be said first: Monster Party is a very strange game, a creepy, mystical video game. It’s tough to gauge how popular the game was initially (apparently it received a 6.25/10 from Nintendo Power), and I can’t comment on how the game would be remembered if the prototype screenshots never showed up, but I can say this much: the few, grainy Japanese images revealed that Monster Party was originally much darker, bloodier, visually complex, and more pop culturally-oriented than the already completely strange game we played when we were younger.
In 2011, someone with an original prototype copy of the game put the cartridge up on Japanese Yahoo Auctions, selling the cart for 483,000 yen, though the ROM, to my knowledge, was never dumped, a notorious decision that caused much derision from the retro gamer community.
A few more screenshots emerged, with some subtle and some not-so subtle differences to the retail version. Eager fans also learned the original title, Parody World: Monster Party, which puts the game in a new, more pop culture perspective.
More recently, in 2014, another prototype cartridge emerged on eBay, which was, thankfully, bought by someone from NintendoAge. While a dumped ROM will have to wait, a few scant details from the buyer have been revealed, and this quote: “We’ve already seen a number of alternate bosses, including some that make SO MUCH more sense.” It’s safe to assume that a number of alterations were made to the game for copyright reasons, keeping in mind that the game is called “Parody World” and that it most likely refers to several iconic films.
– – –
So what is Monster Party? I refer back to it whenever writing about weird or surreal games, holding it as one of the crowning achievements of strangeness and absurdity in games (up there with EarthBound, almost). I usually compare it to older games, either claiming that a game in question is better because it reminds me of Monster Party or that it could have been better if it was more like Monster Party, a ridiculously high standard.
The game is an average platformer for the NES. It features eight levels, each one with a number of boss battles that must be won in order to find a key to exit the level (there’s a glitch exception to this in Stage 7). There’s a small amount of open-world qualities to the game considering it’s a basic horizontal platformer, giving players the option to explore small chambers in each level, some housing bosses, some housing power-ups, most empty.
Monster Party isn’t particularly difficult, and is probably one of the easier NES platformers around, but there’s an easy-to-use password system and infinite continues.
Players control Mark, a kid with a baseball bat (I always imagined him as sort of a younger, mute version of Mike Jones from StarTropics), who can transform into Bert, this intergalactic gargoyle, by popping these generic pills left behind from dead enemies. There’s a lot to be said just about the pill popping, about why Nintendo didn’t bother to censor this out, but it’s all speculative.
There’s also a lot to be said about the name Bert, why this dimensional traveling dragon warrior is named Bert? Questions on top of questions coated in mysteries.
Mark can attack with his bat, and deflect enemy projectiles with it for high damage. He can also crawl along the ground slowly like an inchworm, and sometimes this offers him invulnerability. Bert can fly indefinitely, which is pretty OP IMO, and can shoot a projectile attack, that while seemingly weaker than Mark’s deflected projectiles, is a much safer bet than fighting with Mark.
– – –
Now, people often try to explain weird media away by saying the creators were dropping acid or whatever, whether it’s Eraserhead, an Ionesco play, 12 oz. Mouse, or Monster Party. Now this is the case sometimes, as seen in William S. Burroughs or Alejandro Jodorowsky, but it’s usually hyperbole. Monster Party cannot be attributed to recreational drugs and hallucinogens.
There’s something legitimately fucking weird about Monster Party, a series of sometimes horrifying 8-bit non sequiturs, often covered in buckets of blood and slime. The game makes many allusions to both Japanese folklore and American pop culture, but so much of it just doesn’t add up.
The fact that every piece of Monster Party came together in the way that it did, somehow, and was crammed into an NES cartridge for kids to play as a humdrum platformer, completely blows my mind.
I had this game as a kid because I liked monsters. Monster in My Pocket, Mighty Max, all those late 1980s-very early 1990s toys that had a focus on the grotesque and eerie — I loved them all. Monster Party has kind of weird boxart, a generic collection of monsters with a putrid purple background. It was love at first sight, and I absolutely had to have it.
The game scared the shit out of me when I was probably six or seven, really made me feel uneasy. Events in the game, like the “exploding cactus” and “Welcome! Entrance To Hell,” which I’ll get to later, legitimately made me unsettled and anxious. It was the first time I had seen a swear word in a game (I had been watching The Simpsons since I knew what tv was, but there was something different about a swear word in a game, something unholy), and this was years before I would play Final Fantasy VII.
I would return to Monster Party years later in high school, where I would usually cite the game in my artwork for studio art classes, going so far as to name my final portfolio “© Bandai 1989.” I even made a fanzine for the game which I never handed out for some reason. You can see it here.
The game’s aesthetic clicked with me during my post-Evangelion/Xenogears, Yu-Gi-Oh/Absurdist theater phase, it’s grim, garbled 8-bit kitsch my Wagnerian sublime, and I’ve never stopped thinking about it since.
– – –
The title screen of Monster Party is already pretty jarring. There’s this goofy leering monster, his lips textured like maggots, with an ocean of green slime oozing out from his mouth, while a parade of questionable boss sprites churns below.
There was a fixation with slime and gross textures in children’s media in the late 1980s/early 1990s, as per Nickelodeon, Creepy Crawlers, Gak, the Trash Bag Bunch. Everything was unpleasant and garishly colored, and it’s tough to relate this fixation to Monster Party, but they seem to come from a similar place.
The theme song, which is really upbeat and cheery, adds to the weirdness, and the pumpkin cursor recalls to mind chintzy Halloween decorations. It’s the title screen of legends.
The prototype reveals that the original title screen featured red blood instead of green slime, which is kind of unsettling given the context. Good thing they censored that for the retail version…
…except that before every stage (and on the password screen) is the same sea of red blood! Not only is it a sea of blood, but there’s an army of disfigured skeletons stewing in it. There is nothing else like this in any other US retail NES game, and considering Nintendo of America’s strict censorship policy, these screens are even more jarring and enigmatic. I don’t remember being particularly put off by the blood screens as a kid. I probably thought they were awesome.
The game opens with a series of cutscenes involving Mark walking home from baseball and being ambushed by Bert. The text is surrounded by this great skull border, adding to the Halloween visuals, and the text itself is just so great.
“While he stared at it. The star got bigger and bigger. The beauty of the star made his eyes moist, so he didn’t notice that the star fell and landed right in front of him. It wasn’t a star but a monster.” Periods and quotation marks are used liberally and sporadically, and the text gives The Adventure of Link a run for its money in terms of English translation.
The best bit: Mark tells Bert “This isn’t a weapon, it’s a bat!” and Bert goes “Bat! Batter!” “Anything is ok!” “Anyhow, let’s go!” Is this supposed to be a pun?
Bert abducts Mark off the street, I guess because Mark’s the first person he runs into, and they fly over the city together. Bert explains that he can fuse with Mark, though he doesn’t mention anything about the pills seen in the actual levels. The opening is really charming, goofy, and nonsensical, but there’s a lot of effort put into it considering this is a mid-NES platformer.
Round 1: Entrance to the Dark World
When the game starts, Mark is in this strangely colored, saccharine landscape, with grinning trees and blocks. Flaming Japanese schoolboys shoot fire rods at Mark, and flailing leg enemies stick out of the ground, that I guess Mark has to “spank” (maybe?) with his bat. The background is this flat black with an ominous sunset horizon, with this recurring ghastly pink tombstone pattern.
Things get off to an unusual start, and get more unusual when Mark enters a Cheshire Cat-looking door. Inside is a giant potted man-eating plant, a now-known reference to The Little Shop of Horrors, which exclaims “Hello! Baby!” and then starts burping bubbles at Mark. By themselves, the pieces aren’t too weird.
We see giant man-eating plants in Mario every day, no big deal. But altogether, with the boys and legs outside and the text and the door and the grinning blocks, something just doesn’t feel right. There’s a sense of a perversion of a typical Mario level, where everything has a smiling face, here, a bizarro version of Mario.
Mark leaves the chamber after defeating the plant and returns to the outer world. He reaches another door, “Empty.” A third door reveals another “boss,” though this one’s already been defeated. It even apologizes.
While the notion of an already defeated boss is humorous and pretty novel, it’s absolutely disgusting to think about Mark being stuck in this chamber with a huge rotting, maggoty corpse while he waits for the door to open.
So Mark keeps going, reeking of corpse, probably finds his first of many pills on the ground, pops it and turns into Bert. He comes across a giant cactus in the middle of the level, a reference to a Haniwa statue (similar to the Cactaur of Final Fantasy), with a dopey look on his face, stuck in an absurd pose.
Seems innocuous enough, sort of reminiscent of something one might see in a Kirby game, goofy, bright, and cute, until it explodes with light, transforming Round 1 into the most filthy, blood-covered 8-bit hell imaginable.
The cactus’ face melts off, each of the level’s tiles turns into a rotting head or bloody skull, the grass putrefies into a field of slime, and the pink tombstones in the background burst into piles of jeering, bleeding, hoary corpses. The music also shifts, changing from an average NES tune into a lingering, horrifying one, completing the absolute plunge into hell.
It’s such a shock, such a huge change, and I think more than anything this event haunts people’s minds when they recall Monster Party. What’s really great here is that there’s zero explanation for the change, nothing in the scant narrative, no reasoning in the instruction booklet.
Imagine playing the original Zelda and halfway through it, the world just goes to shit. Even in A Link to the Past, there’s a huge build up toward entering the Dark World, and players know exactly what they’re getting into (the two transformed guys on the mountain are a great detail). And even then, the Dark World is just that, a perversion of the Light World. Bert’s world is just a atrocious, unexplainable nightmare.
Referring back to the possible allusion to Mario, if the developers were considering the Mario aesthetic when putting smiling faces on the first tileset, the exploding cactus event is a humorous and grisly departure from “traditional platformers.”
Mark continues his journey through hell, facing a jack-o-lantern ghost that mutters “Please Don’t Pick On Me” before bombarding Mark with projectiles. I believe it was this boss who is rumored to originally be a reference to Planet of the Apes. Mark gets a key and moves on the next stage.
The rest of Monster Party is known for not being as insane or disturbing as the first stage, and that might be true, but there are a good number of highlights that live up to the madness.
Round 2: Dark World Dungeon
First impressions of the second level are that it’s a generic sewer stage. The garish and bombastic visuals of the first stage have been toned down, though the fish with sexy women’s legs are pretty crazy, as are the disgusting ceiling tongue monsters. There are crocodiles that shoot little crocodiles and eggs that shoot bubbles, too.
The first boss, a Medusa-themed giant snake is pretty menacing, her text being “Let’s Mix It Up!” A little bit of text goes a long way, especially for games from the NES generation, and the creators of Monster Party don’t hold anything back.
More sewer, more empty chambers, more eggs.
And then “Look Out Baby. Here I Come,” the tempura boss Shrimp Attack. Mark faces giant, hopping fried food, a shrimp, an onion ring, and a shish kabob, which I guess one could consider unconventional. Just imagine this giant fried shrimp murmur in the most flat, serious tone “look out baby. Here I come.” Really bizarre, really memorable, great stuff.
The third boss is a Japanese wishing well that shoots plates, which is I believe a reference to Banchō Sarayashiki, a Japanese ghost legend about a man throwing a woman down a well because she wouldn’t be his lover.
In the legend, the woman, Okiku, haunts the well, searching for her missing plate. It’s ironic that the well’s projectiles are plates, as the culture in the story puts a lot of importance on the plates (Okiku is in trouble because she believes she lost one). Okiku’s ghost throwing the plates at Mark, saying “Time To Do Some Damage,” gives Okiku a new devil-may-care attitude.
Monster Party has this strange desire to celebrate and ruin traditional Japanese culture, with the exploding Haniwa statue, as well as the perversion of the Banchō Sarayashiki folktale. The game is a mix of parodying US/western culture and Japanese culture, but the US retail version never admits to this, which gives the game a very eccentric and unnatural tone and aesthetic.
Round 3: Dark World Cave
Round 3 is another sort of generic-themed level, a cave stage, though this cave has a droning, halogen glow to it and is haunted by creepy demons, invisible skeletons, and evil umbrellas, a cross between a vampire bat and a Japanese kasa-obake.
We also learn that this is one of those games where sprites change colors for no reason as the game progresses, as Mark, Bert, and the power-ups are now pink instead of green, which I like. Every stage has a unique boss chamber, and the cave’s is one of my favorites, this glowing, indescribable fleshy mass.
The first boss is a disgruntled minotaur, GIANT BULL MAN, as the instruction manual says, whose text is “Mooove It!,” continuing the trend of obvious puns for the sake of having puns. The developers (or at least the localizer) put a lot of humor into the game through these little text bubbles with each boss fight, giving the game its personality. The jokes are never good, nor are they “so bad they’re good,” they just exist for the sole purpose of there to be jokes in the game, humor at its most abstracted.
The second cave boss is the GUARDIAN OF THE GIANT SPHINX, a possible precursor of what’s to come down the road. The mummy complains “My Legs Are Asleep!,” probably because he’s been cooped up in a sarcophagus for so long, and tosses bandage projectiles at Mark (though the manual says it’s “ectoplasm”). There’s also a nice unique background for this fight, these scattered blue pyramids and this frowning sphinx that just looks so upset.
The final boss for Round 3 is a giant spider, aptly named GIANT SPIDER, who shoots “‘x’ webs” at Mark. He looks pretty generic, but his walking animation is cool and his text “I’ll Suck All Your Blood,” is one of my favorites in the game. The giant spider actually returns later, making him something of a recurring sub-antagonist for Mark along the lines of the Turks in Final Fantasy VII or Team Rocket. Out of all the weird bosses, it’s funny to wonder why the developers chose to bring back the most generic one.
Round 4: Dark World Castle Ruins
It’s called Castle Ruins, but it’s actually a pyramid, full of scorpions, snakes, and white crocodiles. The aesthetic of this level, while not particularly weird or anything, is nice, with the white, gray, and dark blue tileset looking particularly sharp, as do the white and copper colored enemies.
While not quite a castle, Round 4 also has little to do with Egypt, too. The first boss is a giant samurai warrior who towers over Mark, groaning “I…Am A Slowpoke,” another of my favorite lines. He throws katanas at Mark, which obviously can be deflected by Mark’s bat. After, the boss appears to commit seppuku, as he falls to his knees and this unrecognizable 8-bit pink visual piles at the samurai’s feet, though it could be legs…? It looks like organs to me, though.
There’s the evil punk rocker, who apparently plays “bad” music that physically harms Mark. The music note projectiles come from the punk’s guitar, but there’s also a washing machine-looking speaker in the background. The punk rocker’s line “Face The Music!” would later appear on merchandise sold at Hot Topic ; ) What’s great about this boss battle is that the punk is so generic looking, with his mohawk and sunglasses, but there’s nothing generic about having to fight a giant, floating punk rocker in a video game.
The third boss is an evil cat who was rumored to be a reference to the Gremlins films, just changed into a cat later in development. When Mark first enters the chamber, the cat looks innocuous, sitting in a box, but then transforms into an evil boss cat upon closer inspection, mirroring the events of the film. The text is really funny (“Meooww! Meooww!”) because the developers have fried food speak English, a well, giant spiders, but the cat just sounds like a cat.
Round 5: Dark World Lake
Round 5 looks the most normal of any of the levels. There’s nothing strange about the forest/lake tileset, there’s some real platforming, everything seems pretty normal. There’s a fish enemy pretending to be a shark with a fake shark fin a la every cartoon ever, a goofy visual gag. The boss chamber has an animated waterfall, which looks decently impressive, though the surrounding tiles look vaguely like dinosaur bones or something.
There are only two bosses, one of which is pretty notorious. The “LIVING DEAD: zombies from Japan,” as the manual cites, are a reference to Night of the Living Dead-style zombies, but they’re also from Japan, an unusual twist. There are red paper lanterns in the chamber that look like open wounds, and what appears to be one of those Chinese drum towers that sometimes pop up in anime.
The zombies say “Watch My Dance” and them emerge from the ground, rotting and green and disgusting, and begin dancing. Attacking the enemies makes them disintegrate and return to the earth, seemingly doing no damage. This used to frustrate me when I first bought the game, but it now seems obvious how to “fight” them. Players must just stand and wait for them to finish their dance, watching their moldy limbs flailing about before turning into dust. The track that plays here is pretty catchy, too.
The other boss is MAD JAVELIN MAN, who throws javelins at Mark. I’m not sure what this boss is supposed to be, a giant rusting robot with a blow-up doll mouth. When I was a bit older, I always thought of this boss as being mildly perverted, but I’m not sure why. “Catch My Javelin!”
Round 6: Dark World Haunted House
This is my least favorite level in the game, but due to its audacity, it ranks highly in notoriety. Unlike the rest of the stages, where Mark just moves to the right constantly, the haunted house is an annoying warp maze of doors that will wear players down quickly.
The track that plays during this level is an obnoxious combination of an 8-bit howling wind loop and a high-pitched jingling whistle, and there are flying ectoplasm drops that constantly damage Mark, meaning players better hurry up and figure out the maze.
Enemies include poltergeist chairs and tables, both of which are HUGE compared to Mark. Everything in this game is gigantic. There’s also a pair of sinister, animated pants, white jeans, which are also huge compared to Mark.
There’s only one boss, one CHAMELEON MAN, who is a moldy, bleeding wall of disfigured faces which reminds me a lot of the houses in Space Funeral. I usually put the aesthetic of both games together, a glitchy, grim kitsch, painted in garish colors. Players must strike the real face as it moves and blends into the background, and sometimes the face floats around at the top of the screen, meaning Mark can’t hit it.
What’s really awful, and I touch on this briefly in the zine, is finding the exit of the level before finding the boss and getting the key. Say what!
Note: Mark and Bert are now goldenrod yellow.
Round 7: Dark World Tower
Round 7 has Mark ascending upward rather than to the right, which is reminiscent of Kid Icarus. The tower in many ways feels like a build up toward the end of the game, the ascension, a feeling of the ethereal and vaguely unearthly. I’ve heard the tower referred to as having a hi-tech theme, but I never got that as a kid. There’s a glitch in this stage where players can permanently lose their keys if they defeat all the bosses.
The first boss is another pun boss. The manual refers to him as GIANT CATERPILLAR, but his in-game text reads “I’m Royce.” The joke is that the caterpillar jumps off his bed (yeah, he’s on a bed) and starts rolling around the boss chamber. Get it, Rolls-Royce?
The second boss steals the show though, the Grim Reaper, who is nearly four times as tall as Mark. His text, in all its Engrish glory, “Welcome! Entrance To Hell!” still amazes and fascinates me and plagues my nightmares. This boss is one of the most memorable for me, and I can still taste my little kid dread whenever I see his flowing red robe.
The third boss fight, which players should never participate in, is the Giant Spider from before, proclaiming “I’ll Suck All Your Blood Again,” a really hyperbolic statement if you ask me. He’s even got a Roman Numeral “II” on his spider ass this time.
I am glad it’s the spider that glitches the key over the other bosses. It adds to his asshole factor, and really makes him feel like a true annoying antagonist.
Round 8: Dark World Heaven’s Castle
Heaven’s Castle starts with a real bang. Flying sticks of dynamite explode over Mark’s head as the stage opens, more homing in on him. Witches on brooms dot the sky, sprinkling their evil hex dust on Mark. Fiery constellations of pseudo-stars also rain down on Mark. It’s a real perverted vision of heaven, clearly aimed as a parody at the Christian belief of life after death.
By this point, players don’t even think about why Nintendo did not bother to censor some of the visuals and text in the game. In Round 8, there are churches with crosses atop them, something Nintendo of America never let the NES Dragon Quest games have. Just the idea of having witches and sticks of dynamite flying around heaven instead of angels seems like it would offend someone, but Monster Party is subtle here with its parodying. Sort of.
The first boss is hidden to the left of the stage where Mark starts, and can be easily missed by the uninformed. It’s just a Chinese dragon that says “Watch Out Baby!” and flies around the chamber. It’s probably the toughest boss in the game because it’s hard to hit without taking damage.
The second boss, HAND CREATURE, is a putrefying conglomerate Buddha/Kali/other Hindu gods, mashed together, limbs tangled and useless, with a stupid grin on its face. It seems to fit my idea of Round 8 parodying religion, though I’m not sure why it’s called the Hand Creature, other than the fact that it has a lot of hands.
SNAKE MAN is a really weird one. A ghoulish sphinx head attached to a severed bloody neck, licking its lips and saying “Oh Boy! Mark Soup!” The red and tan palette used to color him is very attractive, and he’s one of the creepiest looking bosses. He also continues the trend of blaspheming sacred cultural icons.
The final boss is a real trip. It’s a cracked out, giant demonic face that shoots eyeballs while a border of other eyeballs stares at Mark. There’s eyeballs everywhere, an exclamation point to the established Halloween kitsch, though the boss is pretty easy.
His text is legendary. “You Beat Everybody! Beat Me, And You Can Leave! Come And Die!”
So Mark helps save Bert’s world, maybe (tough to say what was wrong with it) and Bert takes Mark home. Bert gives Mark a gift box to open when he gets back.
Inside the box is a magical princess, but then the princess turns into monsters. Mark gets scared and screams and then his flesh melts off in one of the most brutal visuals on the NES (not as bad as Hitler’s head exploding in Bionic Commando, but more insane than anything from the racy Golgo-13 NES games). I used to have a GIF of this on my MySpace.
Mark’s mother comes in and wakes him from an awful nightmare. It was all a dream! Phew.
Mark gets ready for school and leaves his house. Outside waits Bert, though, holding Mark’s baseball bat menacingly. “Let’s go again!” Bert exclaims, and the credits roll. The ending is a real rush, nonsensical, mildly threatening, and schizophrenic.
Why is Bert back? Why does he have Mark’s bat? Why did Bert need Mark at all? He’s clearly the superior fighter. It’s like Bert just wanted to harass Mark. For all I know, Bert is just another parody, poking fun at a typical young boy’s obsession with action, monsters, and adventures. Who knows.
– – –
Monster Party’s use of text is one of its key strengths, what makes it stand out. A lot of games take in-game text for granted, forcing players to read through paragraphs of generic narrative and obtuse or too obvious tutorial. Dark Souls is a great example of a game that does not do this, as it barely has any text, and when it does, it’s usually cryptic and insane. Shadow of the Colossus also barely has any text, and is essentially a silent game.
More contemporary games use too much text, games like Skyward Sword, or Ni no Kuni, which focus too much on direct exposition and template dialogue. Obviously these games are more complicated than Monster Party gameplay wise and require some explanation on how to play, but something can be learned from Monster Party’s use of text in games. Bits of text can be used to create a massive tone without ever wasting a second of the player’s time.
– – –
Monster Party is a special game, akin to EarthBound, Space Funeral, weird, absurd parody games, and it’s one of my favorite NES games, up there with all the classics, Super Mario Bros. 3, DuckTales, and StarTropics II. It defies reasoning, aesthetic logic, good taste, and does so without ever being cynical, postmodern. One could relate it to the Splatterhouse games, but even those games take themselves seriously to a degree and their language is easily identified and read.
I keep thinking about what the new prototype owner said, that the game makes more sense with the new information. Part of what makes Monster Party so special is that the original ideas of the creators (which do have an unprecedented level of wackiness) were filtered through an English localization and a sporadic censorship strainer, further distorting the already jumbled game.
It’d be like if the Super Mario Bros. 3 ROM was accidentally hacked by a random number generator before its release and given clipart to replace the enemy sprites at random, a sentence generator used to generate jokes for each level. It’d be very different than the original game and what the creators originally had in mind, even though it’d still be a tight platformer (and despite the fact that the Mario universe is already really, really weird).
We would love a game like that, especially if it defied logic, had no rhyme or reason, no explanation for its absurdity. Fans could only guess why the game looks how it does, wonder how a human being could even come to a visual conclusion like it. They must’ve been on drugs.
A lot of Monster Party’s charm and intrigue comes from its mystery, as if players were reading an alien text that vaguely resembles their own reality. Monster Party, with all its humor, horror, mold, and action, embodies the essence of life, play, grinning like an idiot and bleeding from the head.
It’s one of the most playful games I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing, and in a way, it is like Mario’s deformed, forgotten half-brother, emulating the action-platformer, but doing so in the only way it knows how.
The new information about the game will give us more clues into the minds of the developers, and can only enhance the game’s qualities, rather than tarnishing the mystery surrounding them. I look forward to the new discoveries, and to be able to take a fresh look at the game.
– Nilson Thomas Carroll ; p