Just when things looked their darkest, the sun suddenly came shining through. On the back cover of what has been a largely forgettable issue of MAD, there is a parody of Lewis Caroll's "Jabberwocky" called "Joystick Jabberwacky", and it is easily one of the coolest things ever. Behold:

'Twas Billy, and the Shyguy Clones
Did Grax and Grumple in the Kraid;
All Lizzie were the Hanger Zones,
And Phanto Renegade.

"Beware the Shadow Boss, my son!
The Killer Clams, the Mummy Men!
Don't Goombah with a Neul, and shun
The Death Breath known as Ken!"

He Holtzed at Zigmos from afar,
Dodged Zombie Slime with lightning scroll,
While Zelda in her Mamda Jar
Made Yuki with a Troll.

And as he Beaked for Pyradoks,
The Shadow Boss Twinbellowed through,
Back up by Pengs, Chiacgo Ox,
Twelve Ninjas and McGoo.

Dagoom! Dagoom! Zabs met their doom!
And when the final Folfu fell,
Lay Bloopered ranks of Battletanks
And Mario as well.

"And has thou zapped the Shadow Boss?
Well, Spike my Foss! No Sniffit thee!
Kello! Kello! O Porcupo!"
He Dakkered in his Skree.

'Twas Billy, and the Shyguy Clones
Did Grax and Grumple in the Kraid;
All Lizzie were the Hanger Zones,
And Phanto Renegade.

      If that's not the most awesome thing ever, I don't know what is. This is a prime example of what good satire should be. It takes Lewis Carroll's famous phoentic masterpiece and replaces his gibberish words with video game terms that SOUND like gibberish to those uninitiated into the Church of Nintendo. Part of what this satire particularly great is the level of depth is shows in its video game references. Sure, the poem makes the obvious Mario and Zelda references that everyone will get, but it also invokes the names of baddies that only the most avid gamer would know. Seriously, who the fuck remembers the names of the enemies in Gradius? I would venture to guess that Frank Jacobs, the man who wrote this poem, was either a gamer himself or he read a shitload of game manuals as research for his project. Either way, he clearly put a serious effort into his craft, something which was lacking in most of this magazine's content. Now, just for fun, here's every video game reference from the poem:

Billy - Double Dragon.
Shyguy - Super Mario Bros. 2.
Clones - I doubt this is a reference to a specific game... it's probably just a reference to armies of identical baddies you usually faced in NES games.
Grax - The 3-D Battles of Worldrunner.
Grumple - Bubble Bobble.
Kraid - Metroid.
Lizzie - Rampage.
Hanger Zone (sic) - Contra. The correct spelling is Hangar Zone.
Phanto - Super Mario Bros. 2.
Renegade - Renegade.
The Shadow Boss - Double Dragon.
Killer Clam - Probably Karnov, but I'm pretty sure the enemy in that game was just called Clam.
Mummy Men - Castlevania.
Goombah (sic) - Super Mario. The correct spelling, per the instruction manual, is Goomba.
Neul - Solomon's Key.
Death Breath - Kid Niki: Radical Ninja.
Ken - Ken is means "fist" or "punch" in Japanese, and thus it is a fairly common character. This probably refers to Ken Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden.
Holtz - Metroid.
Zigmo - Adventure Island.
Zombie - Most likely Castlevania.
Slime - Dragon Warrior.
Zelda - The Legend of Zelda.
Mamda Jar (sic) - Solomon's Key. The correct spelling, per the instruction manual, is Manda.
Yuki - Legend of Kage.
Troll - Probably Shadowgate.
Beak - Mega Man. No, I'm not thinking of Beat from Mega Man 5; Beaks are the beak-shaped wall cannons that are omnipresent in the original game.
Pyradok - Arkanoid.
Twinbellow - Kid Icarus. I really wish this was a reference to Twinbee from Konami's Stinger.
Peng - Mega Man.
Chicago Ox - Double Dribble.
Twelve Ninjas - Ninjas appear in a shitload of games and the twelve is seemingly meaningless, so let's go with either Kid Niki or Ninja Gaiden.
McGoo - Kid Icarus.
Dagoom - Gradius.
Zab - Gradius.
Folfu - Alpha Mission.
Blooper - Super Mario.
Battletank - It has to be Battle Tank, but the game wasn't released until October 1990. Maybe Nintendo Power previewed it or something.
Mario - Come on now.
Spike - This could refer to the evil foreman from Wrecking Crew or any to any number of pointy hazards in other games.
Foss - Gradius.
Sniffit (sic) - Super Mario Bros. 2. The correct spelling, per the instruction manual, is Snifit.
Kello - Adventure Island.
Porcupo - Super Mario Bros. 2.
Dakker - Gradius.
Skree - Metroid.


      And with that, my review of MAD #292 comes to a close. Although I was largely disappointed by the issue, I have a few very positive things to say about it. First, the art is fantastic. The celebrity caricatures in particular are very well done. If the magazine's writing standard matched its drawing standard, MAD would easily be the funniest magazine in existence. Secondly, the magazine was free from tactless commercialism. I scanned the entire magazine and there was not one outside advertisement in the entire thing. MAD has started selling ad space since then, but it's nice to know that they USED to have integrity. And perhaps I've been unfair. I came into this review under the pretense I'd get to read some Nintendo-related satire and barring one amazingly kickass poem, such pretenses turned out to be false. I was incredibly pissed off that MAD tricked me, and it's very possible that I reviewed their magazine with a level of cynicism that I normally would not have employed. Then again, maybe not. After all, this has been a pretty shitty issue of MAD.


Posted by: Syd Lexia