Ask GR Anything: Silly questions edition

Ask GR Anything is a weekly Q&A column that answers questions submitted by readers (as well as questions we're particularly curious about ourselves). Got a burning question about games or the industry? Ask us in the comments below and you may just get it answered!

The Cut

Solid Snake's unwavering stylishness is one of the great mysteries in the history of great mysteries. Reader OneTimeBuster brought this to our attention a couple of months ago, and we've been dying for the opportunity to dive in head-first. It just took a little while, because it's difficult to come up with excuses to talk about mullets that will make it past the GR editing desk, y'know?

He asked, "Why do mullets only look good in Metal Gear Solid games?" We appreciate OneTimeBuster's question, but we think it's flawed from the outset. Mullets have gotten a bum rap lately, as many people have horribly distorted the originally intended shape of this glorious ‘do.

Above: Go ahead, try to say you're not intimidated by this mane. We both know you'll be lying

This is not a haircut intended for the common plebeian. It's reserved for the gods among us. Some people, in their envious quest to impersonate the gods, have distorted the common perception of the mullet into an unstylish atrocity. However, there's nothing structurally wrong with it, and there's no reason why a glorious head of hair arranged into a mullet-shape can't be part of a balanced style.

We cannot and must not stereotype this cut based on the limited actions of a few cretins. Just because it somewhat resembles the general form of a mullet does not put it in the same class. David Beckham often rocks a mullet, and he's an international sex symbol. A.C. Slater wore one proudly, as did Andre Agassi in his shirtless, chesty prime. Not to mention John Stamos, and Patrick Swayze. MacGyver too. Norris. Bowie. McCartney. Check out the manes on some of those guys. They look like proud lions. It's pretty clear that a mullet is as glorious or disgusting as you make it.

The mullet doesn't make the man. The man (or woman) makes the mullet. And Solid Snake owns his mullet with a vengeance. As for how he manages to pull off a one-piece leotard over and over again... that's a much more difficult mystery to solve.


Above: What wonders lie beneath the surface of this incredibly powerful device?

Over the past three months of Ask GR Anything, it has become increasingly clear that if we didn't eventually address the growing curiosity over the science of Pokeballs, then we'd have a significant riot on our hands. So, out of concern for GR being razed to the ground, Future Publishing's board of directors beseeched Ask GR Anything to address the issue and put the curiosity to rest.

However, we regret to inform you that, despite an exhaustive search for more information, we still have no idea what technologies might be behind the Pokeball. Even Bulbapedia doesn't pretend to have any explanation for that wondrous device.

We thought about something like a mini-black hole, but that theory doesn't work. Black holes can mash anything down to the size of a pinhead, but getting it out again is practically impossible. Unless you've got a few million years to wait around for your Pokemon to be spat back out, particle by particle, in the form of Hawking Radiation.

Some definitions of the Pokeball insist that the creature is turned from matter into energy that can be stored in a Pokeball. Then it can be rematerialized once it's thrown onto the battlefield. This is a cute story, but it's more than a little absurd. Why? Well, because this is what happens when you convert objects into energy:

Above: One Poke-battle could very likely destroy the entire Earth

In a nuclear fission reaction, about .1 percent of the atom's energy is released. And just that small amount can destroy a city if you've got enough material (the first nukes had about 140 pounds of uranium). So changing a (let's say 30-pound) Pokemon into pure energy would produce as much kinetic energy as about 200 Hiroshima bombs. And that's only if it's a Pikachu. That number goes up substantially if we're talking about a fully grown, 900-pound Wailord. We're pretty sure our plastic Pokeball replicas couldn't survive that kind of a blow.

Unfortunately, after a lengthy investigation, we have concluded that Pokeballs are pure fantasy. We prefer to think of them (as one GR reader suggested) as mini-Doctor Who Tardises with lots of space held inside a tiny area. That way, you could just have a pet carrier inside the Pokeball and sidestep the messy nuclear reaction. 

Thank you for reading this first installment of Ask GR Anything: Silly Questions Edition. We'll likely have cause to offload more ridiculous questions again in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 some day. In the meantime, hit me with your most serious (or ridiculous, those are fun too) burning questions.

Submit your own questions in the comments (or Tweet them to @sciencegroen) and we may tackle them in a future Ask GR Anything.

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  • revrock - March 18, 2012 11:34 a.m.

    How come I can destroy AI opponents in fighting and sports games but I get my rear end handed to me against human opponents?
  • gopikmin - March 15, 2012 8:30 p.m.

    How better do single player games do against multiplayer driven games?
  • Darkhawk - March 15, 2012 12:54 p.m.

    Ask GR Anything: Why do we still have to deal with save points? I understand the checkpoint as a function of some game design - i.e. RPGs might reset you to the beginning of a mission if you die - but by 2012 we should have default auto-save states so that at any time we can turn off our system and walk away.
  • - March 15, 2012 2:47 p.m.

    You mean like an MMO? How would saving work without checkpoints?
  • gopikmin - March 15, 2012 8:13 p.m.

    Well checkpoints are much easier to code so smaller studios may choose them. Also if it went to autosave states, it may rid the penalty of failing. Battlefield 3 doesn't make you spawn where you died does it. Checkpoints prevent a pseudo invincibility
  • BladedFalcon - March 17, 2012 3:42 p.m.

    Depends on the game-type and experience as well. constant auto-saving works fine for genres like RPGS and such, but in action games like devil may cry or god of war, it would defeat the purpose of challenge... Unless of course, you handled auto-saving the way Demon/Dark Souls do... which would make most games pretty brutal and unforgiving XD
  • R_U_Guys_From_British - March 15, 2012 12:28 p.m.

    Why did the platformer lose relevance?
  • - March 15, 2012 2:48 p.m.

    That's a good question! It'd be cool to ask some experts/game historians about that. For my own part I think that the genre stagnated when there weren't many ways to advance the games anymore. So the excitement moved to shooters where devs were doing all sorts of new things.
  • R_U_Guys_From_British - March 16, 2012 9:44 a.m.

    As a generalization, yeah I guess there was (and still is?) more ways to be expanding on shooters than platformers.
  • jmcgrotty - March 15, 2012 9:17 a.m.

    (this might have been said, but...) Andre Agassi's mullet/hair was a wig. I think that this not only cancels out the power of his mullet, but brings the whole mullet-verse down a notch.
  • - March 15, 2012 2:52 p.m.

    Haha Just looked it up, and you're totally right. But regardless, it's the fashion we're looking at. Real or fake matters not.
  • Shepard212 - March 15, 2012 9:12 a.m.

    Why is it that Sonic the Hedgehog's own friends suck, yet no one has any problem with large ensemble casts from other game franchises, like Mario, Sly Cooper, and even Megaman Battle Network?
  • Sinosaur - March 15, 2012 3 p.m.

    Because Mario doesn't hang out with Big the goddamn Cat.
  • codystovall - March 15, 2012 8:03 a.m.

    Because the pokemon world is a digital world of digital monsters-_- and the pokeballs just store the data of the pokemon, which is why theyre able to be put into a pc. One day pokemon will become self aware and rise up. Missingno cometh!
  • Sinosaur - March 15, 2012 3:01 p.m.

    No, that's a different show about monsters. Pokemon are pocket monsters, they aren't digital monsters, and they aren't the champions.
  • Japanaman - March 15, 2012 7:25 a.m.

    Silly Questions: Why can Mario no longer breathe underwater? How does Samus get hurt by enemies in morph ball form when she detonate giant bombs and survives them unharmed? Why do most RPG characters never change clothes? You can change them in games like DQ IX, but really... Most who do change clothes don't show the change and some characters go to bed in their armor. When Yuna took her shoes off in FF X, that was only in a cutscene. How do the chicks in Stretch Panic walk? Shouldn't they be lying down on their breasts, desperately trying to get up? Why are there weapon capsules for Mega Man? His arm cannon never runs out of energy? Speaking of which, how does it even work? Does he use a solar panel on his arm cannon to charge energy? Does it run of his internal battery? Could Mega Man kill himself by firing too many arm cannon shots?
  • Japanaman - March 15, 2012 7:15 a.m.

    First of all, mullets looked awesome in wrestling games. Second of all, you're acting like a Poke'ball is Gambit. You charge the Poke'mon up then blow them apart. No. Poke'balls shoot the Poke'mon with a shrink ray and a tractor beam whic sucks them into the ball. Remember, rations and air is limited so don't leave your Poke'mon in their balls 24/7. If you're not going to keep the Poke'mon then put it in a PC so you can transfer it to a faciltiy where the Poke'mon will be fed and stuff.
  • TheMasterJeef - March 15, 2012 6:11 a.m.

    Mullet - Business at the front, party at the back.
  • BladedFalcon - March 17, 2012 3:43 p.m.

    Did you borrow that from Supernatural? XD
  • JMarsella09 - March 15, 2012 4:19 a.m.

    How exactly, even in the world of video games, would a double jump work.

Showing 1-20 of 56 comments

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