Best Treasure Ever

Tanooki suit

Round Two: Top seeds vs. your picks

Our No. 1 seeds (and the Wabbajack) face off against readers’ choice winners.

By Steve Heisler • September 17, 2012

There were few upsets in the first round: Three of the No. 1 seeds sauntered over to the second round, with only the Wabbajack besting its higher-ranked rival the Zodiac Spear. And not only did all of our readers’ choice treasures qualify, but they demolished the competition: The Golden Pantaloons danced on the grave of a photo negative; the BFG 9000 shattered the Clear Instruments into tiny, easy-to-shank pieces. But will fan-service gumption be enough to upset our preliminary top choices? Start the clock on a not-very-exciting episode of 24!

Animal Division: Tanooki Suit vs. Space Hamster
Tanooki Suit, Super Mario Bros. 3
Space Hamster, Mass Effect 2

Some have argued in the comments that the Tanooki Suit’s secondary ability—whereby Mario turns into a not-at-all-conspicuous stone statue in the middle of a wide open space—isn’t that useful. After all, how often is Mario standing still in Super Mario Bros. 3, a game that introduced not only flight, but the perpetual motion of bouncing around inside a shoe? They have a point.

Then there’s the Space Hamster, who is always in motion by default; he’s in a hamster wheel, after all, and maneuvers his way into a couple of games in the Mass Effect universe. But what are you running from, Space Hamster? What unforgivable crimes have you committed? Perhaps our sympathy for the caged beast is unfounded.

Both treasures have their ups and downs, but it’s time to choose: fight and flight, or simply flighty?

[poll id=”19″]
Weapon Division: The Wabbajack vs. BFG 9000
Wabbajack, Oblivion and Skyrim
BFG 9000, Doom

You never know what the Wabbajack is going to do. It may transform your enemy into something harmless, or it might make the beast you’re trying to slay even more terrifying. Using the Wabbajack is not a choice made lightly, especially given the impressive arsenal of other blunt implements available in the Elder Scrolls games. Those who go the way of the Wabba do so not to kill, but to be surprised.

There’s nothing at all unpredictable about the BFG 9000, though. It shoots humongous blobs and decimates everything you see. It’s not just powerful, it’s unabashedly so. Still, there’s comfort in stability—and of course, if you want to win, there’s plenty of comfort in having a weapon that gets the freakin’ job done.

Can the element of surprise push The Wabbajack over the top yet again?

[poll id=”20″]
Throwback Division: Screw Attack vs. Warp Whistle
Screw Attack, Metroid
Warp Whistle, Super Mario Bros. 3

This is the battle of two treasures that can dramatically ease your journey. Another treasure from the Super Mario Bros. 3 world, the Warp Whistle allows Mario to skip levels entirely, a huge leap forward in getting to that final boss. Metroid’s Screw Attack isn’t quite so epic, but it allows Samus to fly by enemies without wasting time standing around, shooting her blaster, then moving on.

Personally, I’ll play a game forever if I have the right tools, and it’s here that the Screw Attack is at an advantage. I delighted in just existing in Super Mario Bros. 3; the race to Bowser was secondary to my enjoyment of discovering what every single level looked like. The Warp Whistle was a great tool to have in my back pocket, but once the luster wore off, I rarely used it.

The Screw Attack, meanwhile, got used all the time. It allowed for exploration without fear of being overwhelmed by bad guys I couldn’t deal with, and it made a cool whooshing sound to boot. I know many of you may enjoy a good whistle tune over the sound of a small engine purring, but my vote’s locked up. You?

[poll id=”21″]
Wild Card Division: Golden Pantaloons vs. Luck Bobblehead
Golden Pantaloons, Baldur's Gate
Luck Bobblehead, Fallout 3

This match-up is function vs. form—do you want to win, or do you want to have a great time trying? The Luck Bobblehead increases your luck stat by one point, and in the Fallout series, luck can mean a lot of different things: It makes you better with a gun, more adept at finding ammo, etc. One measly bump in the numbers can mean a massive difference.

The Golden Pantaloons, meanwhile, offer a less tangible benefit. You look damn good, for one thing, and they shimmer as a beacon of your ingenuity, theoretically instilling you with confidence. Sure, there’s no tangible benefit, but they carry with you across three Baldur’s Gate games, gussying up your inventory with sheer “pantaloonacy,” to quote Drew Toal.

To quote another legend, Olmec from Legends Of The Hidden Temple, “The choices are yours, and yours alone. Good luck.”

[poll id=”22″]

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217 Responses to “Round Two: Top seeds vs. your picks”

  1. Merve says:

    Space Hamster vs. Tanooki Suit is probably the most difficult decision I’ve had to make all year. (I chose Space Hamster in the end.) Damn you, Gameological, for forcing me to make tough choices!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      It is truly the Sophie’s Choice of our generation.

      • Now I want to see Meryl Streep as the Space Hamster in the cinematic adaptation of Mass Effect.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          The only issue is a space hamster would eat, like, a dozen of it’s kids without a second thought.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          If they ever do make a Mass Effect movie, I hope that Shepard is played by a dozen different actors and actresses, I’m Not There style. But the role would probably end up being given to Ryan Reynolds or Dane Cook, because you know, Hollywood.

          Maybe Nicolas Cage as Shepard, directed by Werner Herzog, in Bad Commander: Port of Call The Citadel, then we could get some hallucinated space hamster-cam. I’d like to see the bit where Shepard goes to the council, yelling and slurring his words while trying to convince them of the Reaper threat and snorting lines of space-coke throughout, M-97 Viper tucked into the front of his armour pants. Or Shepard during the suicide mission: “Not the seeker swarms! AHHHHHHH Ahhhhhrgh my eyes! my eyes! AHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHrgh!” 

          I would watch the shit out of this hypothetical movie.

        • SisterMaryFrancis says:

          “You know Wrex, i could eat a space-peach for hours.”


        • Electric Dragon says:

          VOICEOVER MAN: “The future of the Galaxy is at stake. Again.”
          Shepard: “I should go.”

          A sample of pull-quotes for the posters: “This is my favourite movie on the Citadel” – Cdr. Shepard
          “Better than Blasto 7:Ilium Drift” – The Roger Ebert Virtual Intelligence
          “Enthusiastically. Watch this film.” –
          “Calculate probability of this film not sucking as 15.3%. Suggest lobotomy to increase enjoyment.” – Mordin Solus

    • caspiancomic says:

       We thought we were choosing between our favourite videogame trinkets, we didn’t know Teti and his Society would be holding up a mirror to our very souls.

    • Captain Internet says:

      Space Hamster all the way. Mario wins these things all the bloody time.

      • Fluka says:

        Oh no!  At the time of writing, Space Hamster is losing!  *Loses faith in humanity.*

        This had better not end up as a Mario v Mario final battle.  *Puts her money on Wabbajack.  Is comforted to see money turn into a mud crab.*

    • Girard says:

      The Smithsonian did an online web poll to determine what games they should include in their exhibit. They had ONE slot for an NES platformer, and you had to choose between Mario 3 and MegaMan 2. Who the FUCK asks people to choose between Mario 3 and MegaMan 2?!

  2. Fixda Fernback says:

    Okay, folks, the Space Hamster over the Tanooki suit, sure, I get that. I mean, the argument about the Tanooki’s effect not being too useful is a somewhat valid one. But… the freaking Jabberwocky over the BFG 9000? This is video game heresy!

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       One is a mere weapon. It exists only to destroy. So do many other weapons, in many other games.

      The Wabbajack, on the other hand, exists only to destroy your sanity. That, friend, is rare indeed.

    • Enkidum says:

      Anyone else remember the 80’s shareware roguelike Dungeon of Doom for the Mac? At any rate, it had a polymorph wand that sounds like the precursor to the Wabbajack. I remember once being so excited because I managed to polymorph some crappy monster into Death, which promptly killed me.

      Never won that game a single time, but I’ve just downloaded the paid sequel (now free, naturally) The Dungeon Revealed. Bad-ass!

      • Raging Bear says:

        I remember the ass off of that game. It was my inspiration for a short story assignment in 5th grade.

    • Mr. Glitch says:

      Get Price Waterhouse on the phone! I demand a recount!

    • When talking about the Tanooki suit versus a decorative item, it’s pretty hard to make a case that the Tanooki suit is losing because it isn’t useful enough.

      • Pgoodso says:

        Boo saved my life more than once through his advice to Minsc that, yes, you should attack the dragon, not the nice player character.

        • Maudib says:

           If the space hamster loses, it’s because Baldur’s Gate 2 did not have the foresight to let you merge the hamster with Lilarcor.

  3. My fellow Americans, a vote for the #4 seeds is a vote for democracy, etc. etc. etc.

    That said, the only one I didn’t have a tough time with was the Pantaloons.  If it was a more difficult or memorable Bobblehead to obtain (remember having to brave the Dunwich Building for the Melee Weapons one?  *shudders*), I’d give it pause.  But this is just a miniature version of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish leprechaun.  And speaking as a native of South Bend, Indiana, who is tired as hell of seeing him my whole life…pantaloonacy prevails.

    I’m sure Touchdown Jesus would like a word with me, now.

  4. blue vodka lemonade says:

    All my votes ended up being for the favorites. I’m either a sheep or I have good taste. Or, I might be a sheep with good taste.

    Really, the Space Hamster should win on the basis of the ridiculous little sound it makes. “Tweedleedle!” It’s this little squeak like something out of a Tex Avery cartoon, and it makes me so happy that it exists in such a big gloomy universe.

  5. LoveWaffle says:



  6. ItsTheShadsy says:

    Space Hamster or Bust

  7. The_Misanthrope says:

    Will you, my fellow commentariat, indulge one of my petty gripes that happens to be tangential to the Space Hamster?  Oh, you’re trying to answer that rhetorical, but you’re too far away for me to hear you?  Oh well, here I go anyway!

    You ever notice how, no matter how many tchotkes Shepard picks up planetside, her cabin never looks lived-in?  I don’t mean just messy or disorganized; I mean it looks like a model room, at best, and Patrick Bateman’s artifice of a real human habitat from American Psycho.  It is a living space designed by an alien who has been studying humans but doesn’t quite get all the nuances; It’s a little bit off. 

    Then again, I think this is a common problem with all space-travel-based shows, the most recent Battlestar Galactica and Red Dwarf being notable exceptions.  All the living spaces seem to share the same restraint in furnishings and objets d’art, as well as being absolutely spotless all the time.  Do we ever see a cleaning crew on the Starship Enterprise?  Or do they just teleport all the grime away into space, even though that seems like quite a waste of energy and a possible safety hazard?

    • Merve says:

      To be fair, ME2 had Mess Sergeant Gardner, who was the Normandy’s cook, janitor, and handyman. I’ll fanwank that he used to clean Shepard’s cabin. But he’s not in ME3, so the ship should have been a disaster in that game.

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        Wouldn’t want to be the poor bastard who has to clean Shepard’s bed sheets after another night of Shepard-Liara lovin’:

        Ah man, blue stains all over the sheets AGAIN!!!

        • HobbesMkii says:

           Uh, excuse me, sir, I believe if you’ll thumb through the 10,000 page Codex that you can collect in-game, you’ll find an entry that specifically states Asari sexual excretions are green, not blue. So, according to canon, he would shout “Ah man, green stains all over the sheets AGAIN!!!!” 

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Yeah, everyone knows blue excretions are the monthly feminine hygiene issues of women in advertisements.

        • Raging Bear says:

          “Mom, do you ever get that…razzberry-flavored feeling?”

        • Merve says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus: At least you know which pads to buy if you’ve ever got Kool-Aid spilling out of your vagina.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          @Merve2:disqus: All of them, and lots of them.

        • Pgoodso says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus @Merve2:disqus This is the first time I’ve been nauseated at the thought of Ecto-Cooler and I’ve never been sadder.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          We like to kick’em when they’re down… that’s our style. Aaarrroooooo.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

         Yeah, he’s the one who gives you the side quest to get some “high-quality ingredients” to improve his food and thus life the morale of the crew.  I am inclined to think that he just has Shepard smuggle his shipment of Space Crank onto the ship.

    • Staggering Stew Bum says:

      Yeah, I assumed Shepard was a neat freak, but the Bateman comparison also works. The Shepard-Anderson conversation at the very end of Mass Effect 3 also lends weight to this theory:

      “Anderson, it’s Shepard, Commander Shepard. You’re my commanding officer so I think you should know: I’ve killed a lot of people. Some geth on Eden Prime uh, some Rachni maybe 5 or 10 um and the Rachni Queen I met in Noveria. I left her in a test chamber in Peak 15. I killed Saren, my first nemesis, with a Graal Spike Thrower, and some man uh Krogan called Wrex last year. I killed Matriarch Benezia with a biotic explosion, I had to, she almost got away and uh someone else there I can’t remember maybe an Asari commando, but she’s dead too. And The Illusive Man. I killed the Illusive Man with a Carnifex shot in the face, his body is, well, right there in front of us. I don’t want to leave anything out here. I guess I’ve killed maybe 2000 people, maybe 4000. I have save games of a lot of it, uh some of my crewmates have seen the save games. I even, um… I ate some medigel, and I tried to cook a little. Tonight I, uh, I just had to kill a LOT of Reapers. And I’m not sure I’m gonna get away with it this time. I guess I’ll uh, I mean, ah, I guess I’m a pretty uh, I mean I guess I’m a pretty sick guy. So, if you get back tomorrow, I may show up at Purgatory Bar, so you know, keep your eyes open.”

    • Monkeylint says:

      That’s what I never really liked Star Trek. Everything is too sleek, too clean, too uniform. Corridors wider than an office building. It doesn’t feel like a vessel. Star Wars was always superior. I believe that universe, with beat-up second hand ships, hulls scarred and scored. Cramped quarters, exposed supports.

      I saw the original Millennium Falcon “hero shot” model a few years ago when props from the movies went on tour. The detail was astounding. Little tiny labels and hatches and access ports and burns and impact scars all lovingly hand made. It’s a dead art now, sadly, everything is CGI, ephemeral.

      • Cornell_University says:

        Well, remember that the ships in Star Trek were military craft for the most part, as opposed to the personal use and commercial craft of Star Wars.  I mean, the empire’s fleet was pretty spic and span.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I just want to see the storage room in the Enterprise where they keep all the cans of taupe paint.

    • Electric Dragon says:

      Shepard barely spends any time in her cabin. She can only  admire her ship models, feed her fish and briefly check her email (and maybe fiddle with her armour settings), and spends the rest of her time on the Normandy as a kind of helicopter parent, chatting to (or up) her crew, playing with the Galaxy Map (“Joker, set a course for Hades Gamma!” [Mass Relay animation] “Actually, now that we’ve got here, I’ve decided to go to Hawking Eta instead because the mission looks more interesting.”), endless scanning for minerals, and using the terminals. And that’s not counting the time spent off the ship – trying to drive the stupid Mako over rocks, taking in the scenery on the Presidium levels, etc.

    • HobbesMkii says:

      If you hook up with Ashley or Kaiden in the first game (and they survive it), then cheat on them in the second, the photo of them in your quarters gets flipped down. So, obviously, Shepard’s in her room enough to have an emotional reaction to that one photo. 

      Also, living in a paperless world must drastically reduce clutter.

  8. Mr. Glitch says:

    Oh come on, people! That chumpy little Wabba-whosits might play in the sticks, but there’s no way it could hack the Hellspawn Big Leagues! No, for that you need reliable molecular discombobulation! You need the BFG 9000!

    • Effigy_Power says:

      The BFG is so penile, so very basic and so very immature. It destroys, it annihilates, it murders and it liquifies.
      The Wabbajack can turn rampaging Trolls into sweetrolls, deer into other deer and little old ladies into Draugr. It is not only superior in its creative power, it is a built-in social commentary, especially when you turn a homeless beggar into a shower of gold coins… and he can’t spend himself.
      It is the ultimate weapon because not only does it not look as obviously destructive as the BFG (which is also named stupidly and smells of Cheddar), but because instead of burning imp smell, it leaves you with a snack and some pocket money.
      If it could please you orally, it would be the best thing in the world.
      Sorry @Mr_Glitch:disqus, I know this hits you hard as a aficionado of nostalgic badassery, but in this case the BFG will have to eat cake… sweetrolls to be precise.

      • lylebot says:

        I wish my penis was short and boxy and shot green wads of death..?

        The rocket launcher is far more phallic—and a better weapon that’s more representative of what Doom is.  When I see BFG my mind goes “BFG?  Doom!  ROCKET LAUNCHER!!!  vote vote vote vote”.

      • Cornell_University says:

        No, Marge.  Everything penis shaped is bad.

      • Mr. Glitch says:

        Your candidate is a long, stiff rod that squirts “magic” out of its tip, and you’re calling the BFG penile? Pshaw!

        Sure the Wabbajack can turn trolls into pastries, but it can also turn trolls into more trolls, bigger trolls, or trolls backed by dragons. My candidate promises reliable destruction, with no undesirable side-effects. The American public deserves no less!

        • Effigy_Power says:

          I see your point where a magic rod could be misconstrued as “phallic”, but then psychology insists that penile replacement tools need to be loud, fast, dangerous or shiny.
          The Wabbajack is none of those things.

        • Merve says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus: Loud? Fast? Dangerous? Shiny?

          *looks down*

          Nope, I don’t see any of that. Thankfully.

  9. SisterMaryFrancis says:

    The only reason the Warp Whistle is winning is because of the ad campaign done elsewhere on this site, where the whistle is shown in a positive manner.


    • Effigy_Power says:

      Ever since the GS is in bed with Big-Whistle, it’s become such a thought control factory…


    • Girard says:

       The warp-whistle is a key item in two of the most important games from two of the most important series in gamedom.

      The screw attack beat out the only Mega Man treasure in this whole contest and is consequently dead to me. I know who I’m voting for!

      • Effigy_Power says:

        You are one of those people who vote against someone rather than for someone… I am saddened for you, @paraclete_pizza:disqus… How have you become so cynical? Did Samus touch you in a place that made you uncomfortable?

        • Girard says:

          My reasoning is purely empirical and logical, and not at all predicated on the fact that I played tons of Mario, Mega Man, and Zelda as a kid but never got into a Metroid game until I was an adult, meaning most of my nostalgic warm fuzzies lie with the former two properties and not the latter.

          Actually, I’m just gearing up for the upcoming real elections! Go, lesser of two evils, gooooo!!!

        • Girard says:

           Speaking of voting and agency and efficacy – I’ve just gotten a Nielsen survey in the mail! Time to vote against all those shows I don’t like!

        • The only Metroid game I played as a child was Metroid 2 for Game Boy. I liked it, but never got very far. The spider ball was to blame.

        • stakkalee says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus I love surveys.  I somehow got on Rasmussen’s call list for their political polls.  Rasmussen is usually a bit of a rightward-leaning polling outfit, so I’m always pleased to provide them my “crazy liberal” extreme left-wing opinions for balance.

        • Electric Dragon says:

          Until we move to a proportional bracketing system, it will always be vulnerable to tactical bracket voting!

          (I’d have preferred an open draw system, with Pete Strackmeier and Arthur Gameological III taking it in turns to draw loot items from a perspex fishbowl.)

    • Cornell_University says:


  10. stakkalee says:

    Oh god, voting against the space hamster took all my will, but as much as I love Boo, that space hamster isn’t really Boo, and the Tanooki suit lets our little Italian plumber friend slip the surly bonds of Earth, and dance the skies on raccoon-fur wings, er, tail…how exactly did that damn thing fly again?

    Of course, since I voted for the Tanooki suit that means I was free to ignore that damn whistle.  And Wabbajack over BFG is no contest – one is a big gun, the other, Madness personified.  Plus, sweetrolls!

    But I’m still pulling for the pantaloons to take this thing all the way.  How many other items were planned with such forethought?  Putting them in BG1, and not having them pay off until an expansion pack in BG2?  That’s impressive.  It reminds me of the Futurama premiere episode, where the shadows under the desk show Nibbler was the one to cause Fry’s freezing, which wasn’t revealed until the fourth season.

    • Pgoodso says:

       “…that space hamster isn’t really Boo…”
      “Search your feelings, you know it to be true!”

  11. duwease says:

    50 / 50 for Luck vs. Pantaloons.. oh god, the pressure

    • SisterMaryFrancis says:

      Go Pantaloons. Unlike Luck, Pantaloons isn’t a Holocaust denier (allegedly) and has never been pictured partying with Lindsey Lohan.

      • PaganPoet says:

        This advertisement paid for by the Concerned Baldurians for Truth.

      • Effigy_Power says:

         As a matter of fact, Lohan is usually seen partying without pantaloons of any sort, even when she should.

        • SisterMaryFrancis says:

          Pantaloons has reached out to her before, but each time she rejects the comfort and security that Pantaloons provides to so many in need.

    • Electric Dragon says:

      I voted for the Pantaloons merely on the basis of the animation. It should be signed up for D-List Celebrity Dancing Competition Show immediately. “And now, dancing the foxtrot, Generic Eastern European Dancer #3 and her partner, Golden Pantaloons!”

      • obiwanchernobi says:

        I, also, have been voting whichever animation most pleases me. The results shall be skewed, indeed.

  12. Swadian Knight says:

    When I was a kid, my brother and I convinced my parents to buy us a hamster. When we took it home and put it in its cage, it became infatuated with the running wheel and immediately began running – not leisurely skipping around, mind you, but running, the way one runs when their only hope of living is in how fast they can move their legs.

    The next day, we found our hamster’s lifeless body in its cage, still clinging feebly to the wheel while it squeaked back and forth due to inertia. And that’s why I voted for the Space Hamster, even though I’ve never played a Mass Effect game. You keep running, Space Hamster. Keep running forever.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Ah yes, Space Hamster…there but for the grace of God, goes he.

    • George_Liquor says:

       Yee gads!

    • Staggering Stew Bum says:

      Everyone I know who has ever had a hamster has the unfortunate hamster death story. Makes you wonder how they’ve survived as a species for so long. They are lovely little creatures though, your story makes me smile but also brings a tear to my eye.

  13. PaganPoet says:

    As much as I love Space Hamster, I think I’m in this for Screw Attack to take the win. Especially because the first Metroid is so brutally punishing. Who else remembers frantically looking for weak enemies to kill to get life pellets with that annoying low-life alarm pounding its way into your skull? Once you get the Screw Attack, you finally start thinking that just maybe you can actually beat this game.

  14. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    I’ve been cutting back on my internet time lately, but I want to break my weeks long silence with this comment. 

    This stuff is pretty cool. I’m betting everything on Screw Attack.