Theories topic for the week of June 13 - June 27, 2012:

What was the special ingredient in the Magic Cake?

Theory of the Week:

Ness was bored. He turned on the TV to see what was on the news.

“Hello, viewers, I’m Rob E. Squash, the news reporter for local Twoson, and we’re here in Summers to discover what started this Eagleland-wide sensation: Magic Cake!”

“Oh, yeah! I remember eating that stuff!” Ness exclaimed. “Now I want to know what was in that stuff!”

“Here’s the young woman who bakes Magic Cake.” A twenty-two year old blushed and waved at the camera.

“What’s the secret ingredient?” asked Rob E. Squash.

“Oh, dear, um, I guess I can tell you, but you have to promise that my husband isn’t watching the television.”

Rob E. Squash looked confused. “Alright then,” he said. “Kirk the camera-man will run down and check. Now for a commercial break.”

Ness was astounded as he watched commercials for Escargot Express and their new motto: ‘Fast as Slugs!”

“Okay, we’re back on air. Your husband is not watching the television right now.”

“Alright,” said the woman. “It all started when I… cheated on my husband… with a New Age Retro Hippie…”

Kirk the camera-man started howling in laughter. The woman and Rob glared at him as he fell to the ground with the camera. All that could be seen on the TV for one minute was rolling, the sidewalk, and sounds of shouting.

Kirk finally got back up. “As I was saying,” the woman said, “he gave me a… um… a gift.” “What was it?”

“I’ll tell you, but you HAVE TO PROMISE that the police forces aren’t watching this news report right now.”

Another commercial break ran through, this time, showing off “Tour the Lost Underworld for only $9,001! It’s Jurassic Park all over again!”

“We’re back on air,” said Rob.

“Okay,” said the woman. “The gift was… er… his “special powder…”

Kirk fell down laughing again. Rob, the woman, and Ness were all getting quite annoyed.

When he got back up, the woman continued. “Well, one day I decided to bake cake. So, when I went to get the flour, I mistook the “special powder” as flour… and thus Magic Cake was born…”

“How did you learn of its dream-inducing qualities?”

“Okay, I’ll tell you, but you have to promise that the little boy named Ness isn’t watching television right now…”

“Why bother! Ha! Little kids like him are home playing Nintendo games right now!”

“If you insist… but anyway… I decided to test out the new cake on him, because I knew he wouldn’t put up a fight. He was a wimpy little boy! It’s not like his puny little girlfriend or his nerd buddy would’ve done anything, either.”

One use of Teleport Beta, and Ness was standing behind the woman.

“Hi, friend,” Ness said, and the woman turned around and screamed.

“You… you heard all that?” the woman stammered.

Ness nodded his head. “But it’s okay… I just wanted you to know I might’ve killed your boyfriend…”


A Survey of Possibilities:

When playing Earthbound, we see the then-trio of Ness, Paula and Jeff consume a foodstuff called Magic Cake - this cake has the effect of sending them into a delirious state in which colours and sound are distorted, and Ness has a "Very clear, and very strange dream", which shows him Poo for the first time. But just what is Magic Cake? Well, let's look at the evidence.

The effects on perception of colour and sound are immediately recognisable as those of LSD, a hallucinogenic drug that might be commonly used and available in the party resort of Summers.

It also fits with the slew of Beatles references in Earthbound, since the song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds is commonly misinterpreted as being about LSD. The song was actually written as a response to Julian Lennon's drawing of his friend Lucy, but it's possible Shigesato Itoi or another member of the development team was unaware of this and simply stuck to the myth.

However, after researching the effects of LSD more thoroughly, it seems that it would not cause vivid or clear dreams, the sort which Ness experienced. Moreover, LSD, unlike THC, cannot be used in baking since it would simply evaporate to nothing.

Nicotine is a drug that, in high doses (such as those experienced by applying several nicotine patches at once) can cause vivid dreams. It too would be difficult to bake with, but could easily be mixed in with cake icing or filling. The problem then raised is that nicotine, while toxic in large doses, is a stimulant, and thus would be extremely unlikely to cause unconsciousness (or unconscious Ness, get it?).

To counteract this, the cake could be laced with some sort of powerful sedative, such as Rohypnol, again either in the icing or filling of the cake. This has a (somewhat unfounded but still reasonable) reputation as a date-rape drug, since it can also produce hypnotic and amnestic effects. It is ten times stronger than an equivalent dose of Valium.

As for how Poo was summoned when Ness ate the cake, this could be a nicotine-induced effect. A strong stimulant that causes high brain activity and vivid dreaming could affect the area of Ness' brain where PSI is controlled, causing uncontrollable spikes of PSI that could reach out to any other users at random. An unconscious psychic link could explain why Ness was able to see Poo's actions so clearly.

The properties of the cake are likely down to a combination of drugs rather than a single one, and in my opinion those are likely to be high doses of nicotine combined with a powerful sedative. The cake may not be entirely LSD-free, since we do not have an explanation for why the colours and sounds around Ness are so distorted, but that drug is unlikely to be the main agent in Magic Cake as its other effects go largely unseen. Research showed up nothing for the effects of Rohypnol combined with nicotine, but with cocaine (another powerful stimulant) Rohypnol has the effect of softening the 'crash' experienced after the drug wears off. This is consistent with the fact that Ness suffers no serious side-effects after the Magic Cake wears off.




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