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WASHINGTON—In a surprisingly bipartisan decision, both the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously approved of funding to provide the nation's Armed Forces with Health Bars in order to protect the troops' safety. This new equipment is believed to contain the essence of life in an easy-to-understand linear form; as a user becomes hurt or injured, the contents of the bar decrease in size, signifying that the user is closer to death. It is believed that this will save many lives on the battlefield, because the new Health Bars will allow soldiers to withstand a tremendous amount of damage that they previous could not.

“We have suffered many lost lives due to our enemies being able to defeat us with a single touch,” said a top Army general. “After the Geneva Convention, cheat codes were banned from use in armed conflicts, so it is not possible to come across extra lives anymore.”

This resulted in a significant increase in game-overs, costing the Military millions of tax-payer quarters and tokens. Many of the country's top scientists in both the public and private sectors began experimenting with ways to combat this. A few prototypes have been introduced over the years, including heart containers (which did eventually become popular with lone adventurers), golden rings, and colorful dragonflies, but none of these were successful with the Armed Forces.


Golden Rings: More trouble than they're worth

“Heart containers were very difficult to implement because they always came in four pieces,” explained a researcher, “and the golden rings were a complete waste of time. When a person is hit, those rings scatter everywhere, forcing the user run around frantically to collect at least one for protection. This would be detrimental in time-sensitive missions.”

“And don't even get me started on the dragonflies,” he added. “Aside from birds swooping down to eat them, we have so far been unable to keep them from flying away from their users. I personally do not even understand how they can be used as protection in the first place.”


Dragonflies: So how are these bugs supposed to defend you?

A senator from Massachusetts, one of the most active proponents of the plan, discovered the Health Bar after viewing a television commercial for it. “I knew right away that this was what were looking for all along,” the senator told reporters, “and the rest of Congress quickly agreed. These Health Bars would do well to protect the troops, while also being fiscally responsible. Refilling the bars is relatively inexpensive, and the lives saved will cut down on the number of replacements that will need to be trained.”

With the passing of the bill, the Military should be able to provide troops with their own Health Bars in the next three months. However, this decision has not stopped scientists from further experimenting with new possibilities. The most promising new technology, a shield that can recharge on its own, is still in early development, but may revolutionize the field in the coming years.

Unfortunately, the Democrats' proposal to add free Health Bars to the current healthcare bill has met with increased Republican opposition, as political pundits agree that this will be a hot debate for many months ahead.
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I was working on the animation of the Health Bar commercial for a while now, and upon finishing it I was inspired to write a Disgruntled Vegetable article based on it. You can see a better-quality version of it on Newgrounds at http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/530150, where it has been quite a bit more popular than I would have ever guessed.

While we are on the subject, what are your opinions concerning these "health bars" and other methods of keeping track of a player's energy? Which type (if any) do you prefer to have in games?










G.F.S. OLYMPUS—After spending tireless years backtracking for lost or stolen abilities, renowned bounty hunter Samus Aran announced earlier today that she had finally become fed up with this needless waste of time. In order to prevent this from happening in the future, she has purchased premium insurance from the Space-Farm Insurance Company, citing that the quote she received from SFIC was “the best deal for the best coverage around.”

“Whether it was from flying through a huge lightning storm or simply tripping on a jagged rock, I was constantly losing access to my special powers, like being able to curl up into a ball or run really fast,” Samus told reporters. “This was really interfering with the time it took to complete crucial missions.”


One of the many ways Samus will inevitably lose her abilities

The final straw, she explained, was during her last mission to planet CR355-LARD in which the Galactic Federation Council assigned her to wipe out all indigenous life for “the good of the public.” After climbing out of her ship, she slipped and fell on a small ice formation, which caused a system error in her power suit, losing the data required to perform all but the simplest tasks.

“Basically, I was only able to walk, jump, and shoot for a little while, which really slowed down my progress in single-handed mass-genocide of the planet's inhabitants,” she remarked. “I learned to survive on my own early in life, but once you get used to the luxury of having a super-missile launcher built into your arm or the ability to lay an infinite number of land-mines at your whim, it gets pretty hard to go back.”

Added Aran, “If any of those soft, fuzzy creatures that lived there actually tried to fight back, I might have been in serious trouble.”

Luckily for Samus, her adopted Chozo family conveniently placed devices throughout the world that contained patches to restore the lost data in her power suit in case of this very event, as well as some additional mods that added a few new abilities developed after the power suit was released.

“I mean, it would have been nice if they included those useful features like the screw-attack in the initial build. I wouldn't have minded to wait an extra month for the bonus content. It would have saved me a lot of time in the long run,” she said. “At the very least, they could have added an automatic-update feature to download the newest abilities as soon as they're released, instead of forcing me to search for them on random planets that I happen to stumble upon.”

In regards to why she keeps losing her powers in the first place, Samus blames it on the faulty programming within her suit, which runs on a Windows-27 SP2 operating system, known for its frequent crashes and virus attacks.

“I keep telling her to switch to a more reliable framework, like the Mac OS XI, which was just released last year,” explained Galactic Federation technician Lieutenant Shmup. “The space pirates could easily create a virus that hacks into her suit and cause it do terrible things, like making her punch herself in the face, all while shouting 'Stop hitting yourself' from behind the scenes. But she's too afraid of switching to a different interface, no matter how many times I explain to her that it's even more user-friendly than the one she has now.”


Apple's latest advertising campaign

With her new insurance contract, anytime she loses her powers, Samus simply has to file a claim with SFIC, and a new set of abilities would be shipped to her within two to three business days. This, of course, assumes that she does not lose the ability to communicate with the outside world.

“When the insurance agent told me that I could get replacement abilities sent to me in a few days instead of scouring a desolate planet for months, I knew this was a great deal,” said the bounty hunter. “Plus, I just couldn't say no to that computer-animated Metroid with the Australian accent that they use in their commercials.”