I owe Slippy Toad a giant apology. Star Fox’s companion has been ragged on by everyone in the 20ish years since Star Fox 64. People have had no problem absolutely bashing on Slippy with little to no vocal support for him. I am complicit in this hate and I’m here to tell you I was wrong. Not only am I here to tell you that Slippy is in fact good, he’s also the most important member of the whole team.
Star Fox 64 is one of my favorite games of all time and I replay it at least a couple of times a year. Through all of those playthroughs, I have hated Slippy. Something about him just rubbed me the wrong way. I never wanted to hear his communications and wrongly attributed that I had to save him way more than the other teammates. I even resented Slippy; as the tech person on my team he is responsible for scanning bosses and letting me know their health bar. If Slippy’s knocked out, you fly in blind. I would hate Slippy for getting in trouble but even more pissed with Slippy out of commission. It was a no win situation for Mr. Toad.
Why feel angry at Slippy? As with most of the internet, my reasons were simply “annoying.” What qualities specifically? A higher pitched voice for one thing. That’s an awful reason to hate my helpful friend; sounding more effeminate is not a crime and is definitely misogynistic of me to call that a negative. His voice isn’t even piercing, he’s literally just voiced by a woman. Slippy also embraces what popular culture would deem as “feminine” qualities. He’s much more vulnerable, meaning that he voices more fear in tough situations but much more excitement and praise in positive ones. Slippy wears his heart on his sleeve and is much more open than the rest of the team. By comparison, Peppy is more reserved and even keel (the father figure) and Falco is moody and aloof. Out of everybody, Slippy will be the first to hop in and shout with excitement and lavish praise.
So why is this a bad thing? Well popular culture tells us boys that we shouldn’t embody Slippy’s qualities. Be the leader and courageous like Fox, wise and sagely like Peppy, or cool and detached like Falco. Slippy on the other hand represents all the things we’re meant to squash. Don’t show excitement or fear, being vulnerable will only weigh you down. In other words don’t be feminine the men need to get this done. It’s no wonder we look down on him from a boy club perspective when reviews cited him as an “annoying, croaking pest.” And while many would have you believe that Slippy is incapable of getting out of a situation by himself, don’t forget how often exhibits a and b also get in trouble. I have to think that our supposed collective hatred of Slippy is born out of the misogynistic perspective that vulnerability is weak.
Enough about the internet’s hatred for him though; I want to talk him up. Remember how I mentioned that he’s the most important member of the team? He is responsible for displaying the health meter of bosses for every single level. This is vitally important! Pepper will offer tutorial advice (“Do a barrel roll” being forever immortalized) which is helpful only in the first few levels. Falco allows you to take different paths and routes, but these can be few and far between. Slippy meanwhile is helpful on every single level! As the resident tech person, he’s also responsible for different vehicles. He made the submarine and the land master possible! Did I mention he’s also a capable fighter pilot? Clearly Slippy is pulling more than his fair share of weight on the team. What does he get for this? Absolutely roasted.
Slippy deserves your respect. Writing him off for an effeminate voice and perceived lack of coolness doesn’t cut it. He is no less a hero just because he reacts to big scary things happening on missions. Slippy is absolutely busting his butt on every single mission and behind the scenes. I’ve turned a corner on my irrational hatred of this space toad and you can too.