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Eric: NaDruWriNi: Webcomics, Video Games and Frank

Penny Arcade!(From Penny Arcade! Click on the thumbnail for full sized cool headed discussion of a popular video game franchise!)

A few moments ago, I started drinking. Overnight, my bottle of General John Stark Vodka has sat in my deep freezer, getting to a frighteningly cold temperature, which is how Vodka can be. It's cold enough that it caused condensation on the outside of the glass I poured it into, and that condensation then froze. Two ounces to start. I have no idea how much I'll actually drink tonight, as it doesn't take much to get me plowed.

Two ounces of vodka, distilled from apples, with the face of my comic strip character attractively plastered on the outside of the bottle. I've had about half, and I just broke a sweat and felt my vision shake. Off to the side, I have a glass column of water I drink as a chaser. This is how you drink vodka, you see. You drink of the vodka, and then you drink water as a chaser. That's what the Russians say. And by God, they know vodka. So you have to believe them.

My face just jumped about twenty degrees and I'm sweating more. It is safe to say I'm now drunk. Since the surgery, drunk comes fast, you see. I have an extremely efficient digestive system. My altered stomach dumps alcohol straight into the lower intestines and from there it goes straight into the bloodstream. BOOM!

Let's talk fucking webcomics shall we!

Only that's a lie. We're going to talk video games.

Only that too is a lie, but you'll see what we mean.

Penny Arcade is talking about Soulcalibur, and they truly are nailing the experience of this game. It's a button masher that also rewards skill, and the desire to kill your fellow player is an integral part of this game. Gabe and Tycho understand Soulcalibur. They likely also understand intoxication. That is convenient, since I'm snarking them drunk.

(I just finished the first glass. Two ounces. Three sips. Three drinks of water from the Voss bottle of water. I can't feel my face! So you're here with me as I write, damn it!)

They get video games, and they get Soulcalibur. This is a game that makes you want to kill the guy next to you, as he kills you again and again and again with the same fucking three moves. Boom, boom, BOOM! and you're dead, and you never got close enough to hit him, because he's playing Rock, and he knows how to use that fucking axe to keep you fucking far away from him as you fight, and then you're either dead or rung-out, and he wins.

The "he" I'm referring to is Frank Orzechowicz, by the way, and that's what this snark is about. It's not really about Soul calibur or Penny Arcade. It's about Frank. But the elements we're weaving together describe the experience of playing Frank in Soulcalibur almost perfectly.

To understand that, however, you have to understand the history.

It started not long before I moved away from Ithaca, New York to Seattle, Washington. I was leaving the people I was closest to, in hopes of starting a new life that wouldn't involve me retiring as a temporary worker. I had a college degree, a skillset, and experience but none of those things get you far in Ithaca. Seattle had my good friend Bill Dickson and a whole new experience. And, this was the early nineties, and Seattle was the place to be. The music scene was at its hottest there. The girls were gorgeous and wearing midriff baring clothing years ahead of anyone else. And I was stagnant and a cross country move would only help matters.

But to move to Seattle would mean leaving the people I was closest to outside my own family. It would mean leaving John Bankert, and my ex girlfriend Karen, who I remained close to. It would mean leaving the beautiful and seductive (and sadly unattainable) Suzanne Aceti. It would mean leaving the utterly cool Becki Orzechowicz and her children who I thought rocked and good friend John Godfrey. It would mean leaving Kevin Pelletier, who I had know since I was in the seventh grade and who defined loyalty.

And it would mean leaving Frank Orzechowicz.

I met Frank (and Karen and Bankert, for that matter) on Relay. You people who know from Chatrooms? Yeah, we did it first. You people who enjoy the Internet Street Cred of IRC? IRC was made to duplicate Relay. Relay came first, and it was BITnet, bitches! You think you're so hot because you know how to use Myspace? In my day, the Internet was 80 column green text on a VT-220 screen, and Relay ran across it. I had an online girlfriend five years before the World Wide Web was even proposed. We hung out on channel 125 of Relay, called the Pink Iguana Tavern, or the PIT. We had the same goofy poses and actions. We had the same imagination based adventures. We had the same cybersex and passionate love affair and raw emotion. We had the same frat guys pretending to be girls. Only there were almost none of us, all the accounts came from schools, and there was no spam. Porn was text-only (downloading porn pictures through Kermit was about five hours per crappy GIF, so we didn't bother).

We had parties called Camp Relay out in Ithaca for the Pink Iguana Tavern crew. It's how I met Frank and Karen and Bill Dickson and John Bankert. (I knew Kevin already, but he was in the same crowd). It's how we fell in love and lust. (There was this girl named Christie, called Gypsylynx, who remains the single sexiest girl I have ever seen. She was sensuality poured into a catsuit and jeans. But I digress.) We had passionate and heartfelt declamations of eternal friendship and love. We had feelings like somehow these were the most important, most intense days of our life, and we knew they would never end.

In a word, we were nineteen years old, or thereabouts. You know what it's like. You might be there yourself.

I met Frank at one of these parties. We'd known each other over the Pink Iguana Tavern, of course. And we knew we would get along. But at the time I lived in Boston and he in Philadelphia. And the night we met he got very, very drunk. Even more drunk than I am right now, and I'm not sure what continent I'm on.

I was upstairs, trying to figure out how to convince Karen, who I was madly in love with, to let me unbutton her shirt. I wouldn't succeed at this. At least, not that night. Later, Karen and I would be seriously involved for several years, so there is a happy ending. She's now married to a good man and we trade phone calls twice a year. But I digress. That night, I was nineteen or twenty years old -- I'm not sure which right now -- and desperate to touch this goddess. And it seemed like I might have been able to do so, only the word came up from the downstairs. Frank was very drunk.

Very, very drunk.

And asking to see me.

What do you do? I went down to see him.

He was on the couch. A girl named Stacy Zimmerman, who we called Starfire, was close at hand, as was Gypsylynx and Rebecca Tants (who did not become Becki Orzechowicz later in the story -- don't be confused). And they had a bucket nearby, because it was clear that Frank would be doing some throwing up.

(He did, in fact, do some throwing up, later. In the laundry room. He got it everywhere. Including in the dryer. And no doubt he's glad I'm telling the whole world this fact in a drunken blog entry.)

"Sabre?" he asked.

I should mention this was my online handle on Relay. "Sabre." Which would become "Lord Sabre" for Relay purposes. It's worth noting I did in fact fence Sabre. However, the name came from a Car Wars car I wrote up one day. So even back then Steve Jackson had a disproportion affect on my life. Go figure.

(It's not outside the realm of possibility that I need more vodka. I'm thinking I might well need another two ounces of sweet, thick, frozen vodka. And I was never much of a vodka fan. Indeed, I have powerful and invigorating scotches close to hand too. But this is not a Scotch night. This is a night to drink vodka named for a war hero no one's heard of except me.)

"Sabre?" Frank asked.

"Yeah, Wolvie?" I answered. Because he was "Wolverine" on the Pink Iguana Tavern channel, the same way I was Sabre. Yes, we had X-Men too. Back then, there was only one fucking X-Men comic, and so you could follow what was happening in it for just eighty-five cents a month. And that was sufficient, God Damn It.


I went.

Frank proceeded to put me in a headlock.

Let me point out. Frank is huge. He comes from south Philly, and casually used to lift me -- not a small person -- over his head. When he puts you in a headlock, you get put into a headlock. You don't get out of it. I was completely helpless as of that moment, until he dropped it.

"You're my best friend," he said. Slurred, really.

"You're my best friend too," I wheezed.

"I mean it. You got my back!"

"I have you back, man. I have your back."

"And I got your back! Always! I swear!"

"Okay, man!"

I'm not sure what happened next. It's not outside the realm of possibility I passed out. From lack of oxygen or from alcohol (Frank wasn't the only one plastered -- this guy called Radar was making kamikazes that should be illegal under the Geneva Convention) I couldn't say. I can say I didn't get to unbutton Karen's shirt that night.

Six months later, I moved to Ithaca. So did Frank. We got an apartment under a bridge on Stewart Avenue together.

I pause here for more vodka. Another two ounces. Because I'm beginning to consider whether or not this post is going anywhere, which means I haven't had enough vodka yet. I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere.

I'm back, with roughly two more ounces of the General. The vodka is thick, because it's so cold. And yet it warms all the way down. Even as I follow it with water, I can feel it simmering and flowing through me. Drawing me with it. Melting me. Pulling me down into nostalgia for a twenty year old person I'm not, any more. I'm going to be thirty eight in two months. The students I teach and work with hadn't even been born yet when the stories I'm telling took place. And back in those days, I drank a lot more than I do now. So maybe it makes sense that the General pulls these stories out of me.

Another healthy sip. Another drink of water. My body tingles. The ringing in my ears is even louder than normal. I'm not entirely sure if the lamp next to me is flickering or if my vision is being affected. That's about the level I'm shooting for. I'm ready to continue now.

I swear, we will get to video games and Penny Arcade.

Frank was a perfect housemate. We gamed together -- first and second edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, alongside Karen and Kevin and John and some others. Auntie Nin. Becki Tants. Christie, who we no longer called Gypsylynx. I was young and in love with Karen and desperately poor and felt alive. And Frank was at my side.

There was one night we were at some party in a bombed out shell of a frat house. I have no idea why. I assume John Godfrey knew them. Or Karen. Something like that. And I was drinking scotch. Not the potent and lovely and sophisticated single malts I drink now. No, this was Johnnie Walker Red, and I was well acquainted with him that night. And I don't remember why, but some guy was about to punch me into next year.

He was wiry and scrappy and significantly in better shape than I was, and had he started fighting me, I expect I would have gotten a decent shot or two in and then laid down on the floor and bled a lot. And there wasn't a lot I could do to stop it. In part because I was drunk as a Sophomore girl at the Senior Prom with a football player looking for deniability the next day.

And the guy -- I have no idea who it was -- got ready to punch me into next year, when I heard a gutteral growl. I heard the kind of growl that puts you in mind of wolves that see one of the members of the pack about to be punked out by weasels. Wolves who are not amused by this. And that growl turned into words. "Back off," the growl said. "Back off or I'll fucking kill you."

It was Frank.

The guy backed off. Frank had him in height, reach, muscle, badassness and testosterone. Seriously. Frank was attacked by a mugger armed with a two-by-four in Ithaca once and one-punched him.

I stared, drunkenly, at Frank. He nodded to me. "Got your back, Bro," he said. And that was that. We've never talked about it, since. It's possible he doesn't even remember it.

But I remember it.

We did everything together. Frank, Karen, Bankert, Kevin, Tants and I, with various others for good measure. After a while, that narrowed more or less to Frank, Karen and I. And sometimes Karen and I -- we were pretty intense, after all -- and sometimes Frank and I.

I remember once we were at the Renaissance Festival. That's one of the things we did together, after all. And a cute girl we knew there named Cheryl asked me "what is Frank's relation to you, anyway?"

And without thinking even a second, I answered "he's my brother." And it was true. We even look somewhat alike. And it's the closest form of relationship I can ascribe to him. Frank is my brother. He's family. He's there when I need him.

And, if you'll recall, in the early nineties I was leaving him -- and Karen and his (then wife who hasn't much appeared in this story yet) Becki Orzechowicz, and John Bankert and John Godfrey and Suzanne Aceti who had become a close friend by then and Kevin and all the rest -- behind, to move away. I was coming off a disastrous relationship with a girl named Jennifer. A girl who almost cured me of girls, and did manage to kill my formerly romantic self almost completely. And I had a degree I wasn't using and I couldn't afford graduate school, so it was time to do something. That something was Seattle.

And Karen and I had been broken up for a couple of years at that point (Jennifer was something of a rebound relationship), and most of the other folks would be missed but that was life.

But I was leaving my brother behind. And that hurt. That hurt. Because I trusted Frank. He was always there for me. I was always there for him.

At some point, we were out at a billiards place that used to be in Ithaca, and we saw a video game there. A fighter, like Virtua Fighter or Mortal Kombat, but fully three-d, and there were weapons.

Soul Edge it called itself.

"Huh," I said to Frank.

"We should try this," he said.

We put a quarter each in it.

Three hours and several dollars later, we were still playing.

I'm something of a random player. I like to play lots of different characters in Soul Edge and all its sequels. Sometimes it has to do with the weapons -- I like Sophitia's short sword, or Raphael's rapier (in later games), or the epic fencing weapons of the undead pirate Cervantes.

For Frank, it was all about Rock. Rock was a barbarian who looked... well, a Hell of a lot like Frank. He used a gigantic axe to destroy his enemies as they congregated before him. His battle cry was "BAGOOOOOOOO!" after the foster son he was always fighting to save or do some such -- who knows. It's a fighting game. Just go with it.

In the background, I'm listening to SCTV, for the record. In case you care.

Rock isn't an easy character to master, but Frank did it. And because of that, and because that fucking axe had Hella Range, Frank became all powerful using him. The balance of characters and fights are entirely biased to Frank, for the record. I admit this freely. But for whatever reason, this was a game that Frank and I bonded over. This was our game. We found another console out at the mall and dumped money into it too. More than once, Suzanne and Becki would go out to the mall with us, and we would hang out with them for a while, and then we would slip over to the arcade. And Becki would find us there, and say to Suzanne "oh, let's go shop. They're playing their game," and they would laugh at us.

Eventually, of course, I went to Seattle. And though Frank and I would stay in touch by phone and e-mail, there was still a distance between us now. Our shared experiences were fading. Time was passing. We were both getting older and we both had lives and careers of our own. Frank had a wife and stepchildren. I had... well, whatever the Hell I had in Seattle.

But I would go back and visit every now and again. And Frank and I would chat, of course. And seek a chance to connect. To be brothers again.

And then we would go and play Soul Edge. Because it was our game.

When Soul Fire came out for the original Playstation, we both bought it. And I played it almost obsessively. Mastering every character. But every time I would boot it up... every time I would play it, no matter where I was (and at this point I was about ready to head to Maine and then New Hampshire), I knew that the point was always the same. I was playing the game I played with Frank. It kept a bond alive, even without direct contact.

And, when I'd visit, we'd play Soul Fire for hours.

A couple of years later I bought a Dreamcast. I wasn't much of a console gamer at that point, but I had no point. You see, Soulcalibur had come out. And I had to own it. And I had to play it. Because I wasn't willing to give that part of my life up. I wasn't willing to give up that connection, real or fake, to Frank. To my youth. This was the game that we played, and I would be damned if I wouldn't play it.

It didn't hurt that the game was fantastic.

Seriously. There had never been backgrounds like this in a game. Never. And the gameplay was astoundingly fluid. Xianghua -- a new character for this iteration of the game -- didn't so much fight as dance with a sword in hand. It was beautiful. The stories were improved too.

In fact, one set of unlockables for the game were nothing but the characters doing fighting katas, because the movement engine was so beautiful, the programmers wanted to show off. There was Xianghua dancing with her blade. There was Ivy doing her dominatrix routine. There was Lizardman... um... standing there.

Rock was an unlockable character. They had a new character named Astaroth for the regular game. But we unlocked Rock as quickly as possible, because Astaroth just wasn't Rock. And besides... we needed Rock. I mean, Frank was the point. And Frank was Rock. Bagooooooo!

And so I got into the Dreamcast. And I played hours upon hours of Soulcalibur.

I would try other fighting games. I went through a DOA2 phase, for example. But nothing touched me as much as Soulcalibur. And I knew in my heart it was because Soulcalibur was a damn good game, rewarding both skill and button mashing... and because when I played it, in my heart I was playing it with Frank.

I remember being in San Diego, California about two and a half years ago. I was there for Baycon, with my friends Russ and Stirge. And we were walking through the area where video games are set up each year....

And I squealed. Squealed. I squealed like a slashficcing 16 year old girl drunk on Full Metal Alchemist.

Because standing there, before me... was Soul Calibur II.

Russ and Stirge were very patient with me. And I dumped a fuckload of money into that thing. There was no Rock, of course, and that sucked wind, but still. Dude. It was Soul Calibur. Raphael was a good -- if challenging -- new character. Talim was cute and speedy (and almost as tough to beat as the demonic and creepy Voldo). It was a damn good game.

When it came out for the different platforms, I bought a Gamecube for it. Making twice now I've bought a console explicitly so I could play Soulcalibur. Frank got the Gamecube version too.

"There's no Rock," he groused.

"Well, there's Astaroth," I said.

He snorted. "It's not the same," he told me. "There's no Rock."

We didn't really care, though. It was our game.

It was our game.

Going all the way back to the top of this screen, I should point out that the experience that Gabe and Tycho are portraying are almost exactly what Frank and I go through. There's trash talking. There's yelling and posturing. And then Frank absolutely schools my ass and I consider choking him to death. Frank is just plain better than I am at this game. And yet, this game consumes me. Because I don't care that Frank is better than I am at it. When I'm playing it, I'm into it. I'm having fun. I enjoy every aspect of it.

And it's something I'm doing with Frank, even if it's just inside. And so long as I have that, I haven't really lost that connection.

And you have to understand... even with our separate lives and many years past... Frank is still my brother. We're still best friends. Frank is the one man -- the one man -- I know I could call tomorrow and say "I'm in trouble. I need someone here right now," and regardless of the consequences he would be on his way.

(Actually having a third hit now. At least five ounces of vodka on the evening. Possibly six. This is more alcohol than I've had in one night for five years or so. I hope you're enjoying it, because God knows if I'll be able to get out of bed tomorrow.)

I remember, before I went back to college, when I was living out in Ithaca -- at this point I actually was living in Lansing, which is about eleven miles out of town. Now, I didn't have a car at this point. I was dependent on others for everything. And I felt trapped. And so I told Karen I was going out for a walk, just after dark. That worried her, because there are no sidewalks out there in Lansing. She wanted me to take a flashlight, but I didn't. And so I went walking.

And walking.

And walking.

About three miles up the road, there was a liquor store. I stopped in and bought a hip flask of Glenlivet. You can see that my taste in Scotch had improved by this point.

And so I drank and walking along the narrow shoulder of a highway after dark, cars flying past at sixty plus miles an hour. Drunk, ambling and walking and not stopping and sometimes singing. I was proving to myself I wasn't trapped. I could walk to Ithaca if I needed to. (It's worth noting that while I wasn't in terrible shape, an eleven mile walk up and down steep hills while drinking was significantly more than I was used to.) I did some laughing and crying and most of all walking.

And I made it. I was drunk off my ass, the flask of scotch now empty, but I was in Ithaca.

So I did the one thing I could do. I walked to Frank's.

Bear in mind, this was a weeknight. And Frank and his wife and stepkids had things to do the next day. This was at best a huge imposition on my part. They'd have every right in the world to be pissed.

I knocked. Becki answered. Her eyes went wide. She wasn't used to seeing me drunk. And for that matter, how in God's name could I even have gotten there? Walked?

She called out for Frank.

Frank came down. He took one look at me. And he said "hey Bro. C'mon upstairs. I got a movie you'd like."

He took me upstairs. He let me drunkenly ramble. He let me drunkenly cry. And then he made up the couch for me to sleep on. Becki, after checking in with him, called Karen. She (wisely) decided to let me sleep it off there.

The next day, I was a solid mass of soreness. And Karen had a few choice words for me. (Though she was mostly concerned that I was safe. There was something real there.)

But Frank never said a negative word to me about it. He was there for me. And that was enough for him.

Flash forward many years. I'm beginning to develop a relationship with the most wonderful woman I think I've ever met. Her name is Wednesday. You might have heard of her.

"Weds," I said, about seven months ago.

"Yeah?" she answered.

"You need to know something."


"Sooner or later -- I don't know when -- a video game called Soulcalibur III is going to come out."


"You're going to lose me for about seventy-two hours when that happens."

This surprised Weds. "Why?" she asked.

"Because I'm going to have to bury myself in it. I have to. It's non-negotiable."

"Oh." She indulged me. She didn't ask why. She just accepted that it was important to me.

That game came out at the end of October. Due to circumstances beyond all our control, this was the weekend I could play it. And of course, my fucking video cable is dead.

Tomorrow, I'm going to go out, hangover or not, and buy a new one. Because I own Soulcalibur III, and I need to play it. I need to.

Frank and I have talked. We know that Rock has returned. Frank, however, doesn't have a Playstation 2. (He had SCII for the Gamecube.) As we talked, we made it clear it would be insane to buy a Playstation 2 now. And he insisted I shouldn't buy one for him. And we joked about it. But we both know that he's going to have a PS2 by Christmas, because he needs to have this game. Just like I need to have a video cable tomorrow.

And when I start it up, and when I see the opening video, and then start to play (create a character -- Jesus, why don't they just ship the fucking thing with crack?), I will feel my heart pound.

Because this is the game that Frank and I play. This is a ritual that ties me to my brother. To my past. To my youth.

And I'll be damned if I give that up now.

That was damn good vodka. I'll have to buy more next year. And maybe pick up a bottle for Frank.

Alongside a PS2.


Posted by Eric Burns-White at November 5, 2005 11:30 PM


Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at November 6, 2005 12:15 AM

Dude. I'm almost crying over here.

I've got a Frank. His name is Dave-O. Our game is Super Smash Brothers 64.

Dude. This post? And the bedtime story? This is it. This it the good shit.

75 Awesome Points┘ for you.

Comment from: kirabug posted at November 6, 2005 12:20 AM

Dude, I am crying over here. (And it's not the rum.)

That rocked.

Comment from: The Borghal Rantipole posted at November 6, 2005 12:23 AM

I like you, Mr. Eric. You're cool, even though I don't really know you. You'er my little sister's neighbor, though, so you're probably ok.

You have vodka, which is usually my drink of choice, but today I have Bushmill's Irish Whiskey. You should try it some time. It is quite glorious. Jagermeister with red bull is a new discobetry. I think you'd like it if you weren't gastronomically opposed to sugar.

I will be infinitely embarassed by this in the morning. That's ok, though, as it's keeping with the spirit of tonight.

Penny Arcade rocks my taco. That is all.

Comment from: Clodia posted at November 6, 2005 12:36 AM

Not only was that post funny and touching and beautiful, but I laughed out loud at the "I squealed like a slashficcing 16 year old drunk on FMA."

Because, while I'm 21, and prefer het, I have squealed like that, and I have definitely been drunk on FMA.

Great post, as always.

Comment from: Suzanne posted at November 6, 2005 12:37 AM

Dude, you win the night.

Comment from: Harry posted at November 6, 2005 12:56 AM

This is what drunken writing is about, man.

Beautiful, man. Beautiful.

Comment from: Polychrome posted at November 6, 2005 1:00 AM

I had a friend like that once. The game was Street Fighter. I spent $140 on an arcade quality joystick to play that game, and it was worth every cent.
In January of 2002 I was in a crisis. I was having problems with my relationship, with my life. So I asked my friend for help. It's was you do when you have problems, you ask your friends for help. So when I needed him the most... my friend stabbed me in the back. My relationship fell apart. Maybe it could have been saved, maybe not. We'll never know. I moved out, and about a month later I moved again. During the second move the joystick was dropped on hard asphalt and the glue holding the case together broke. The electronics still work fine, but the case is too wobbly to use on anything you'd need the stick for.
I have new friends now, but the joystick still sits downstairs, broken.

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at November 6, 2005 1:20 AM

I coulda SWORN Rock WAS in SCII, and you just had to unlock him, but I guess that doesn't really matter, since he's in III and all (you still have to unlock him though. And he uses a big ass club thing that's pretty much like his axe, except a big ass club thing. His second costume also features him wearing a big elephant head!). Unfortunately it seems like a lot of the other unlockables are a total bitch to get though. Oh yeah, and Tira is total crazy hotness.

And I'm a 27 year old het male, and I'm TOTALLY drunk on FMA (tonight's was neat!), and occasionally have fantasies about Lust and Winry. And the new chick with the lips that looks vaguely like Cammy.

See, now isn't this a whole hell of a lot more fun than whatever the hell the stuff a couple of posts back was supposed to be?

Comment from: Wandering Idiot posted at November 6, 2005 1:25 AM

*Claps. Slowly, then faster, then standing up.* That should show those [SnarkCensored]'s who only want you to do webcomic posts the error of their foul and degenerate ways. You must have spell- and grammar-checked the Hell out of that, because it's about the most coherent and error-free drunk post I've ever seen, even if the writing style got pretty spare towards the end.

I actually found that PA kind of gross, oddly enough, although I can laugh at the sentiment. Yes, callouses and bugged eyeballs bother me, yet Tycho gushily chopping off Gabe's hand, or a crazy guy dancing around with someone else's bloody eyeballs held up to his face doesn't. Go figure.

On a completely selfish-yet-related note, if anyone can tell me where it's possible to buy some Hori Soul Calibur II sticks for the Gamecube (which seemed to be sold out everywhere the last time I looked), I will sex them right up in gratitude. Or not, if the threat of doing otherwise is a better motivator.

P.S.- I almost forgot. If you people like this sort of thing, you should really go look up Tim Roger's pieces on Insert Credit. The highly apropos Soul Calibur II review and Super Mario 3 article are good places to start.

Comment from: William_G posted at November 6, 2005 1:30 AM


Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 6, 2005 1:43 AM

It's been a few weeks, but I gave my word. When you finally discussed SoulCalibur, I'd finally respond.

Before I begin, though, I almost just left a quick note to tell you that instead of responding here, I would respond with a column on my site. It certainly would fit. I might end up doing a coulmn on this topic anyhow, but at a much later date.

The thing that escaped me for so long was why did you elevate the series so high above others when it wasn't necessarily that far above others in the genre. I know now that it has only a little to do with actually being a good game (its quality only served as a catalyst for other things, really).

The game is merely symbolic of friendship and a crystallization of signifigance in your life.

Now, in this case, it's social signifigance. But it could easily have been personal signifigance, a game that helped your grow as a person or encapsuled everything right (or wrong) about you at a given time.

Anyone who plays video games enough will have games like this. These are the games that serve as milestones in our lives, and that have become significant for us.

I speak from experience, of course. You want to know my game? No, you're thinking of the wrong question. You want to know my games. By my count, there are fifteen, and I'll give you the capsule reason for each.

Pac Man - my first game
Donkey Kong - the game my dad remembers me playing best
Metroid - the first game I beat
The Legend of Zelda - the game I played during the one time I regretted playing games.
Super Mario Bros. 2 - the first game I beat in under a month, proving I could dedicate myself to them
Final Fantasy - the game which showed me video games could be epic
Ultima V: Quest of the Avatar - the game that showed me morality was its own reward
Lemmings - the game that broke my ego
Final Fantasy IV - the game that spoke to me of loss and redemption
Faceball 2000 - the game that broke my psyche, and freed me
Final Fantasy VI - the game that helped me understand love
Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow - the game that connected me to one of my closest friends (my analogue to SoulCalibur for Eric)
Starcraft 64 - the game that proved I was a professional writer
Chrono Cross - the game that made me friends at my long-time favorite company, and the game that helped me meet one of the people who eventually created Netjak
We Love Katamari - the game that showed me once and for all that as much as I can imagine, there is more beyond it

and that's leaving out smaller but still significant memorable games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete, Crazy Taxi, Tetris, DDR Max 2, TwinBee, EarthBound, Vib Ribbon, and Guilty Gear X^2.

I was all ready to discuss the merits of the game when you finally posted, but I know now that I really cannot. I thought that initially because your excitement, when you first mentioned SC3 on Websnark, was going to be for the create-a-fighter mode. I was all ready to break down SoulCalibur 3 and compare it to its spiritual lineage (Virtua Fighter) and its obvious lineage (Tekken).

But I can't debate or discuss emotions and memories. I can't debate how I teared up in pity when I found out Cecil and Golbez were brothers in Final Fantasy IV. I can't rationally discuss my descent into nervousness, paranoia, and finally madness when I played Faceball 2000. I can't just dissect realizing what the opera scene meant in Final Fantasy VI (and its continuance, when I saw my bride walk down the aisle to the song from that part of the game).

Thus, I'm not going to debate SoulCalibur 3, not right now. If/when the day comes that you want to break down the game on its merits, we can do that. However, I don't know if you'd want me to join that discussion.

Another digression: I hate Final Fantasy 7. Let's not get into the reasons or that debate (I am flatly refusing, right now, to discuss it here). However, I've had people vociferously attack me because I've made my stance known and written about it several times. I never attack them personally. But because I've attacked something that meant so much to them, they feel I have.

That digression leads me to my next point - should you feel like it would hurt to see me break down SC3 in such a fashion, just let me know. I'll refuse to comment about the game itself. I spend enough of my life stepping on people's feelings about games on my own turf. No reason I should do it elsewhere.

In hitting a few more bases - you only made Weds a gaming widow for 72 hours? Rank amateur. When a new Pokemon or Final Fantasy game comes out, my wife thinks I'm a rumor for a week, at least. I wrote an entire editorial about it. But we promised ourselves long ago to support each other in geekery, no matter how often it stings.

Finally, this piece leads me to add a bit more to our theoretical itinerary. If/when the day comes that you arrive in Boston, and we get together at the Cambridge Tealuxe, and you try to somehow override my malfunctioning tongue and get me to taste tea, I have something for you, Eric. It's small, and perhaps just a trifle. But I think, on some level, you want the SoulCalibur 3 keychain in my possession. What it will come to mean, who will say. But if/when the day comes, it'll be yours. How about that?

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 6, 2005 1:44 AM

Oh, and a few quick hits:

Unless you like self-indulgent crap that refuses to actually discuss the game he purports to review, avoid Tim Rogers' pieces at all costs. He's a blight to video game reviewers everywhere.

And if you're button mashing in SoulCalibur, you're not doing something right.

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at November 6, 2005 1:52 AM

Good to hear that the General did the job once again.

I have a sizable group of friends that bonds over Halo.

I also have fond memories of Intellivision Baseball, but there's hardly any continuity in that.

Comment from: Zaq posted at November 6, 2005 2:00 AM

32, email me those time machine schematics, would you? Because you are clearly me from the future. Or the past. Or whatever the hell would make me a younger version of you.

And to think that I thought that I was probably not the only one who cried at FF6's opera scene (or came close enough to it, I don't recall) but was definitely the only one who would dissect it in a literary fashion, or at least try. Of course, I can prove that I am indeed the only one once you get me those schematics. Chop chop, now. Anything that benefits me benefits you, after all.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 6, 2005 2:06 AM

Among other things, Zaq, it would help if I had your email address.

But if you are really the past version of me, let me give you some quick advice - stay on top of those student loan payments, bring a camera to your first visit to Los Angeles, and do yourself a huge favor and find a better place than the pantry to hide the engagement ring.

Comment from: miyaa posted at November 6, 2005 2:08 AM

My games happens to be Civilization series. I like to think I can rule the world. (And where can a guy get the latest Civilization IV? Please?)

And if you think Soulcalibur III is going to look good on a PS2, wait until you see it on a X-Box 360, in HDTV no less. We're talking dying with a smile on your face kind of bliss.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 6, 2005 2:18 AM

I imagine that since Namco is making SC3 exclusive to the PS2, that you're going to wait an awful long time for that, Miyaa.

And the Xbox 360 isn't all that impressive anyhow. It's just a tiny bit prettier than the current generation.

Comment from: Plaid Phantom posted at November 6, 2005 2:27 AM

...rocks my taco

That is an awesome phrase. Just sayin'. Anyway,

32, I realize that this was only a (somewhat) minor point, but I just wanted to say that you have finally made me realize why it was that I always considered FFVI the best FF of all time. (Okay, okay, of the one's I've played. Don't hurt me.) Thank you. I'm starting to think that I may have to preclude Secret of Mana and Tales of Phantasia in favor of a run-through of FFVI just for that. And, of course, I'll forget what I was doing in SoM and have to start over again.

Okay, I take back whatever I said earlier. I hate you. ;)

And if you're button mashing in Soul Calibur, you're not doing something right.

But...But...that's is HOW I PWN in every effing fighting game I get my hands on. Seriously.

And Eric, once again you have left me without words. Also, I suspect that all Soul Calibur discs are laced with a form of crack that enters the bloodstream through the fingertips. Everyone I know who touches a Soul Calibur disc becomes slave to it. It may very well be that it is a plot to rule the world.

Comment from: The Borghal Rantipole posted at November 6, 2005 2:33 AM

Also, I have a brother. His name is Jeff and although I'm more likely to be the one backing him up in a fight (he is indeed a lover, not a fighter) than the other way around, he has quite literally kept my sorry ass alive on more than one occasion. I took him in when his girlfriend beat the crap out of him and held him as he cried and I know he'd do the same for me in a second, and probably do a better job of it than I, even. People lie, you do get to choose your family just as you choose your friends and it makes my heart melt to hear another story of such a relationship.

32_footsteps -

Lemmings . . . FUCK YEAH!

Comment from: gwalla posted at November 6, 2005 2:39 AM

RoboYuji: Rock is technically not in SC2. However, one of the generic characters from the quest mode, named Berserker, plays pretty much just like Rock. He's Rock sans personality.

I'm severely disappointed that they aren't doing another all-platform rollout for SC3. And I'm seriously considering getting a PS2 just for SC3 (also, I'd be able to actually borrow games from friends█I'm the only guy in my group with a Gamecube).

Comment from: Wandering Idiot posted at November 6, 2005 2:46 AM

Unless you like self-indulgent crap that refuses to actually discuss the game he purports to review, avoid Tim Rogers' pieces at all costs. He's a blight to video game reviewers everywhere.

"Review" is probably the wrong word. I've heard this sort of thing referred to as "new games journalism" but that's a pretentious, vague term. "Personal narratives involving gaming" is probably close enough.

In the sense of a "review" you have a point (and I don't read them as such), but in the sense of features about games in general, I'm going to have to completely disagree with you. Every time I start to read that Soul Calibur II piece, I get the urge to go play the game. And possibly yell nonsensical profanities while doing so. Yes, he's indulgent, but he also writes enjoyable articles . There's room in the world for *gasp* more than just the Graphics - Sound - Gameplay - Etc. - Star Review method of writing about games.

You might as well criticize Eric for not giving Soul Edge an exact score (to tenths of a point) in the post above.

For the record, though: This Viewtiful Joe on Insert Credit? Yeah, that one right there? Made me furious, in ways no Tim Rogers article ever did, for reasons similar to those you criticize him for. Luckily, there's another, saner one on the site (Goddamned Kids Mode for the first playthrough- was that reviewer completely retarded!? I'm sorry, I just started glancing through it again...)

Comment from: Ford Dent posted at November 6, 2005 2:46 AM

Oh man, this may have been one of the most beautiful posts I've ever read. Seriously, I'm close to tears.

I just wish I was able to participate in the NaDruWriNi goodness, but I don't have any alcohol with me.

Comment from: Wandering Idiot posted at November 6, 2005 2:48 AM

Viewtiful Joe review. My kingdom for a time machine! (Or failing that, just a way to edit blog comments...)

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at November 6, 2005 3:12 AM

Oh yeah, it WAS the generic guy I was thinking about. Oh well.

I'm sad that I haven't actually gotten to play SCIII in versus mode yet. Also sad that I'll probably never see the real final boss . . .

Comment from: The posted at November 6, 2005 4:34 AM

First, a nitpick: it's Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

And now the feature response: if you write like this while drunk all the time, I for one urge you to have a NaDruWriNi monthly. That was the best post I've read from you (with Wednsday's commercial Christianity rant taking first place because I relate to that better than to this). It had everything: snarking, philosophy and beautiful, beautiful writing. If I were a bolder person, I'd go so far as to call this the ultimate distillation of everything Websnark.

PS: I'm new to Typekey, how are you all able to type double-spaced and such? Mine just (as you can see) clings together like a middle-school clique

Comment from: The posted at November 6, 2005 4:34 AM

erm...never mind, it seems that the post previews aren't accurate

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at November 6, 2005 4:42 AM

Not that I would endorse frequent drunkeness in the pursuit of authorial inspiration, but many props on this piece.

On the other hand, I guess it worked for Hemingway. Sortof.

Comment from: Darth Paradox posted at November 6, 2005 4:46 AM

That's it, Eric. You need to write every entry drunk.

Next up: change the Websnark icon to have Snarky passed out in the chair with a fifth in his hand - er, claw - instead of the paper, and boozles floating above his head instead of the dream bubble.

Comment from: quiller posted at November 6, 2005 4:51 AM

It's funny, I'm a video gamer, and I certainly have games I connect with, but not in the same way.

But had I been in your position I'd be the same way. When something is a symbol, it is damn well a symbol, and that's that.

I could talk about the games of my life, but somehow I feel the only way to respond to a story like that is to talk about that bottle of mead I talked about in the previous thread.

I've been in the Society for Creative Anachronism since my Junior year of college. I've not done the fighting in full armor, I'm not a costumer, my niche is in theater, but it is one that is kind of intangible, and really only apparent to those who attend performances I'm in. But one thing, that had appealed to me is brewing. Particularly, brewing mead. I went as far as talking to one of the master brewers in the kingdom and taking notes, but I'd never followed through on it. In 2000, a woman joined the theater group I was in. She was a great actress, she laughed at my humor, she would tickle me when she felt it necessary. I hadn't had a decent relationship in over a decade at that point, I'm shy to a pathetic extent, but I knew if I didn't take a chance here I'd regret it for the rest of my life. I asked her out in a way that gave her all kinds of outs, and she didn't say no. And within a month, I brought her around to yes. The official start of our going out was an evening at an SCA event we call the Great Western War. (Wars are big events in the SCA where groups from different kingdoms fight one another in mass battles and everyone else hangs out and drinks and tells stories and stuff. We, of course, had a play to perform there.) Once we started going out, I mentionned this thought about brewing mead to her, and she said that she'd always thought that would be a great thing to do as well. She already made cordials, but real brewing with yeast and fermentation has its own appeal. We got ourselves some brewing gear (and gave it to ourselves at Christmas, I believe). I wanted the first thing we did to be a plain mead. No extra flavorings, no extra ingredients. Not a sweet mead like they expect you to choke down at Renn faires, but a semi-dry mead where the honey is a more subtle hint. A mead that would just get better with age. Then I suggested we could open a bottle every year and toast our relationship, letting it get better with age.

Incidentally, this is the sort of thing I mean when I call myself a romantic. I'm not much for giving girls severed reproductive organs and such, but I have the sort of mind that comes up with this sort of thing.

Time went by and our mead brewed. We come in and look at it bubbling away and smile at it. When we came to rack it, we siphoned together, and eventually we had a set of bottles. When the GWW came around again I new event had started, where brewers from around the kingdom brought their goods for people to sample. Luckily at war, everyone just has to walk back to their tent. So our first bottle we opened was at one of these events, on the Anniversary of our relationship start, and the first two glasses were ours of course, with those who helped us with our brewing questions getting the next drinks. It was young and not particularly great at that point, but it was ours.

Fast forward a bit, and you have our breakup after 2 1/2 years together. There were things that she couldn't take anymore, and we divided up the bottles among our other things. But, we decided we could still toast our friendship like we had our relationship before. And we did so. I'm actually not 100% certain that we were even together the first time we opened that bottle actually. I think we may have just had stuff that hadn't gone in the bottle when we were still going out.

In any case, this last October was the 3rd year. It was her turn to bring the bottle. And she didn't. She had another boyfriend with her, I hadn't reminded her it was her turn, and we never got to toast our friendship with a bottle of mead this year. I will note for the record that she left me, not the other way around. This is only for the point that while I'd attempted to symbolize my giving up on the relationship, it wasn't until this moment that I was able to say, hmm, maybe it wasn't just circumstances that drove us apart, perhaps there really was something incompatible there.

And that's what that bottle of mead means to me. For me to even contemplate opening a bottle simply to drink on my own signifies how shattered that promise feels to me. So Eric, I hope you play the hell out of that game, and be glad you have a brother who understands that game, too.

Err, my apologies on the length of the post, it's late and I didn't get my own drunken writing night, just a comment or two on a couple of shots of blueberry cordial.

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides posted at November 6, 2005 5:51 AM


I totally forgot today was NaDruWriNi. But in any case, I'm home now, I'm fucking drunk and no one reads my fucking blog so hell yeah I'm posting here.

I have a Frank too. He's my little brother, George.

See, this whole post coincides so perfectly with my life that I'm getting scared. I just got back from the dorms, playing video games. Drinking Vodka (Absolut, with Red Bull, if you have to know. Good combination for playing games). I was late on the Soul* train, playing SC2 on the Gamecube and getting FUCKING HOOKED. When I moved to the U.S for studies, that's the first game I bought (for $9, from Ebay).

I live with my older brother, Andreas. He played the game, because yeah, we're on a budget and the only thing we had on the Gamecube was Wind Waker. He liked it. He did not GET it, however.

It seemed, to me, that nobody did. People who thought it was a "childish game, while Tekken was way cooler" didn't get it (yeah I heard that). People who studied fighter moves and talked in frames? They didn't get it either. Not because I was playing the game, uh, "the way it's meant to played", but because they didn't enjoy the game the same way my little brother did.

Lil' bro always had my back, and I have his. I just bought him a gig of RAM, while I a) need it more than him and b) I'm the guy with the student job, not a real one. He's more important that any of the things I do. He drums, just like my father. He rocks.

But I don't. I'm a music geek myself, but I'm not a drummer. I don't really like metal; he only listens to In Flames and Dark Tranquillity these days. He hates programming; I live to code. Our lives are drastically different.

But we agree on video games; WE AGREE ON VIDEO GAMES. Not just one, like Eric and Frank. When he told me that Gamespy was right to name Total Annihilation the best RTS ever (when everyone else I knew kinda hated it), I almost cried. When he felt the decline in "oomph" between Super Smash Bros and SSB: Melee. When we both laugh our asses off playing IBM's Alley Cat (circa 1984).

It's still there, that magic bonding, even though he's in Cyprus and I'm in fucking Arizona. He'll send me a MIDI file of Game Boy music and we'll have conversations like this:

- Heeey, that's from.. from that Ninja Gaiden for the Gameboy!

- Ninja Gaiden!

- No it wasn't! It wasn't Gaiden!

- Yes it was, the name was just different on the cartridge.

Yes, we also listen to VG music. Strangely, we both have lives.

It's a strange connection, the way our tastes grew up together and kind of merged into one. How our days of hooking up an NES imitation to a monochrome green monitor with no sound meant that we would think of video games in the same way ever since.

I got him hooked on Penny Arcade, eventually, because our tastes are also similar to Tycho's. So there you go, Penny Arcade, a Frank, Vodka (Voh-tka for the guys making fun of my accent) and me jonesing for SC3 so bad it's not funny. All the freakin' pieces.

I miss him. It might sound inconsiderate or insensitive, but I miss him more than anything else, including my home, my parents and my friends. If there's one thing I fear while growing up to the adult life, it's the loss of that connection, the knowledge that someone you know would say the SAME THING if he was in your place. It's a wonderful thing to have, and if you're going to get anything from this stupid rambling, get this: TREASURE THIS CONNECTION. Fuck if it's your significant other, or your best friend, or your little brother. Don't let it go. It's not a thing you find, it's a thing you gain; and if you lose it, you'll never feel so alone.

And if I have to name ONE video game that connects us, it's Super Smash Brothers. The N64 one. The one with the "oomph".

A thank you, to whoever is reading this.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 6, 2005 6:29 AM

Hey, Eric — Frank is the guy who barred the door when Malachite came a-knocking, right?

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 6, 2005 6:58 AM

My games happens to be Civilization series. I like to think I can rule the world. (And where can a guy get the latest Civilization IV? Please?)

You can't have mine, that's for sure. My preciousssss.

I'm not sure that our local Best Buy actually had any more than the one copy I bought last week, but I bought it, all right. And now this week'd Best Buy ad circular has it at $5 cheaper than last week (yay, price guarantee!).

For what it's worth, my quickie review of Civ4: Most of the things they wanted to accomplish with the new version, I think they accomplished. I'm still getting used to the way some of the things are done, but there are a lot of improvements. The game's AI is finally smart enough to run your workers itself without you having to worry that they'll suddenly decide to plant crappy farms on your Iron mine, or try to mine a flood plain for shields; that alone speeds up the late game enormously.

Religion has been nocely tweaked, I think, making it a distinct part of the game from culture; oh, and the AI opponents no longer do most of the really annoying things that they used to do (like constantly ignoring your borders and not bugging out completely when you complain, or building a new city almost smack on top of one of your cities), which is good for my blood pressure.

I'm still getting used to the 3D interface, which actually does do a very good job at visually conveying a lot of the state information that required detailed management screens on previous incarnations of Civ; on the other hand, I'm far from impressed with the performance. I have a Radeon 9600 graphics card, an Athlon XP 2500+ CPU, and two gigs of dual-channel paired PC3200 DDR RAM; and yet, restoring a saved game from the Industrial Era on forward takes several minutes; and if I click the little button to turn on the map's grid lines (which aren't enabled by default, and don't seem to have a settable default state either), it takes another four or five minutes for it to add the grid lines to the already displayed map. Press F5 to talk to your military advisor, and you're in for another 5 minute wait.

I'm going to try tweaking some of the graphics settings, but I'm not sure how much that will help: the few settings they have don't seem to relate to the problems I've seen.

I hope that made at least some sense, as I appear to be deep in an experimental creative process from National Type Shit While You're Fucking Asleep Month (TyShWhiYoFuAsleM). I can't proof my draft, because every sentence is made up of a whole bunch of unrelated words strung together (which is actually how experience a frightening chunk of the outside world these days). Gawd, I hope my fingers made more sense than my brain did.

Comment from: Doc posted at November 6, 2005 7:32 AM

I too know this feeling my game for this used to be Virtua On 2, but my cursed arcade sold the game and the nearest one is about an hours drive down the coast, which is a bit much to just play the game (not that we don't mind you but its not always practical).
Soul Calibur 2 (GC version) filled this niche for us, I use Raphael and he uses Link (which we both claim are the deepest and cheapest characters in the game, we just disagree on which is which). The obvious drawback is that we are both now very good with our favourite characters so can only play with random characters.
It works

Comment from: megs posted at November 6, 2005 9:02 AM

Soul Calibur on dreamcast will always, always be the first comiccon the webcartoonists went to. All the kids from the first year of keenspace and more went and we wandered around and were crazy and I met my husband and we played SC all the dang time. One of the guys I met there, who'd I'd been pals with over the internet, ended up giving Frank and I a PS2 for our wedding gift, mostly so we could play SC2. And we still love him and are going to his wedding in the summer. SC brings people together in everlasting bonds!

This game is obviously more powerful and special than anyone gives it credit for.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 6, 2005 10:04 AM

Damn it, I knew I'd screw up one thing posting that late at night. Yeah, so I missed which Ultima was Quest of the Avatar. The important part is that you know the subtitle, and not the number, is the important part.

I won't hurt you, Plaid. I really like FF6 alot myself. I prefer FF4 over, well, every game in existence, but FF6 is a great game. It speaks to alot of people. In terms of battle system, it's weak (because it makes the game way too easy). But its story is top-notch. I've done countless runs through the game myself. And if you want to know what kind of guy I am, I have a save file right at the opera house scene that is never going to be erased.

Well, WI, you have to understand that I am a huge critic of New Games Journalism. (Sorry for the lnk, but I figure it is pertinent to the conversation - but at least it links back here.) It wouldn't necessarily be so bad if Rogers didn't call his pieces "reviews." But he does, and it disgusts me how anyone could call them that. If he wants to blather on like an idiot about some tangental point, write an editorial like I do (but give it alot more focus than he currently does). I've had running debates over which was worse - his review of EarthBound, or his review of We Love Katamari. It's really a tough call.

I mean, I don't mind a good, rambling story about video games when it's presented as such - a story. Eric did that, Rogers doesn't. Also, another difference is that Eric's actually written something good, and Rogers, well, doesn't write anything good.

Alexis - while I can understand the sentiment, I'd guess that either you never went against someone in the original SSB that was really skilled with Ness, or you were someone really skilled with Ness. SSBM added some much-needed balance to the equation (other characters needed some balance tweaks, but not nearly as much as Ness).

Doc, if you're pining for Virtual On, and you've got a Gamecube (which I assume is the case if you're playing the GC version of SC2), then you want to get Gotcha Force. It's like Virtual On, but you get to build teams of different robots, all of which are fun to use in different ways. It's one of those games that I can't help but go back to regularly. Just to warn you, though, it's kind of hard to find right now.

Megs - it's not, really. It's just a game, a long string of code that's fun. Trust me, one friend of mine and I could wax rhapsodic over FF4 until you're convinced we'd value it much more than Guernica before urination. I know quite a few people who can do that, too. It's not more special than anyone realizes. It's as special as anyone wants it to be. Nothing more, nothing less.

Comment from: Booklegger posted at November 6, 2005 10:34 AM

Polychrome, I'm sorry you think I stabbed you in the back.

You're still missed wednesday game nights.

Comment from: Dorkboy posted at November 6, 2005 10:44 AM

Eric, this is simply put, my life.

I'm still pissed that SCIII is ps2 only...but that didn't stop me from buying it now did it?

My buddy I call Grasso, it's his last name, and it's really crappy to call him when he's at home...because I have to remember that his name is Matt.

We have two things Grasso and I: Video Games and Music.

And Soul Calibur? The only fighting games I can get him to play (Fucking Button Masher(tm) )


Oh, and I once almost threw him out my goddamned window.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at November 6, 2005 10:51 AM

Man, we need to get Eric drunk more often. That was just plain beautiful.

Unfortunately, given that the people I have historically been around have not been heavy videogame players (other than my brother, who thankfully does share much of my taste in videogames), I haven't really had any games I've really ended up bonding over. Granted, there are games that have made very deep, lasting impressions on me (Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Earthbound, Final Fantasy IV, Chrono Trigger, Blaster Master, almost all of the Super Mario Bros. games, Dragon Warrior, and I could just keep rambling and listing games for ages), but sadly none that have quite had a bonding experience for me. Oh well.

Concerning the articles of Tim Rodgers (I categorically refuse to call them straight reviews): I've admittedly read very few of them, but the ones I've read have either been really good/fascinating to me (the Earthbound one especially, probably because of my own deep affinity for the game), or really muddled and not especially interesting (his editorial on game endings). In fact, the "Top 11" list that followed the article on game endings made me realize that for all of his bitching about how "the big ending" was not a desirable element in videogames, just how many of his Top 11 were, you know, "the big ending." And how utterly cheap his writing looks when he's not surrounding it with adjectives and superlatives. And how I felt like I totally had to call bullshit on his claim that the end bosses for all Mario games are ridiculously easy. So I guess I could say while I do find his writing fascinating sometimes, he's definitely not anywhere near top-notch.

Concearning FF7: 32_Footsteps, you have now officially made me curious just as to what your thoughts are on FF7, mainly because I hate it. Hate it with a passion. If anything, I consider it to be, by far, the most overrated videogame ever released. The characters are flat and lifeless. The dialogue makes it sound like the translators just went "hey man let's try to be 'hip' and 'edgy' and 'cool.'" The battle system is grating. The materia system ensures that absolutely none of the characters have any unique qualities to them whatsoever. The music is sub-par. I could go on for ages, really. (And not being a video game journalist by any stretch of imagination and a cranky bastard, I could care less whether this section of my post gets flamed.) But anyway, yes, you have officially made me curious and also have just made my respect for you shoot up. (As if I didn't already feel some geeky affinity to you anyway, what with your TMBG-themed posting name there.)

Comment from: UrsulaV posted at November 6, 2005 11:05 AM

Soul Caliber and my buddy Alan. Every evening for probably four, five, six months. It is safe to say that I never had a button masher so etched in my brain--I could think what I wanted to happen, and it happened, no "A, then B, then double back, then up." This is not all that unusual, perhaps, for hardcore gamers, but Soul Caliber was the first game that ever became a hindbrain function for me.

And of course, I cannot play without thinking of Alan.

Good snark, dude.

Comment from: kirabug posted at November 6, 2005 11:20 AM

On FF7: guys, I think a lot of the appeal is the soundtrack. And yes, I know the soundtrack on VI was excellent - it's loaded on my laptop with all the others. But 7 was the first time the music sounded like music-music and not computer-generated music. But then, that was the game that really got me into playing Final Fantasy so maybe it's just bias sneaking in that makes me say that.

Personally, it's Final Fantasy IX that I love more than any of the others. My God, a happy ending. I bawled like a little girl. I bawled like a I bawl when I'm alone and it's Christmas and I'm watching The Muppet Christmas Special alone.

(For the record, the Muppets are my Soul Series, and my "brother" is, well, my brother. My mother separates us in church at Christmas because when we light all the candles during Silent Night one of us inevitably hisses "light the candle not the rat! light the candle not the rat! put me out! put me out! and then the giggling starts and she's convinced we're going to burn the whole chapel down one of these years.)

Comment from: Chris Anthony posted at November 6, 2005 12:05 PM

It probably says something that Final Fantasy VII is the last Final Fantasy game I finished. (I've seen all of Final Fantasy Tactics, but I never went through and played past... well, a certain point myself. Although I did once rack up 10,000 Job Points per character in a single fight - not that I could use them, but...)

It probably also says something that I bonded with my then-best friend over Street Fighter II and its various sequels up to ... well, whatever was the last one released before summer 1996. And then he went off and became a Baptist minister in Virginia, I never saw him again, and I only ever reluctantly played a fighting game after that.

I should probably go back and play through all those games I own and never finished. (Although there are a lot of them; now that I think about it, I don't think I've finished a game at all since Final Fantasy VII.)

(No, wait, I beat Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.)

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 6, 2005 12:15 PM

Hey, remember when I said I wasn't going to go into FF7? I meant it. Anyone who's really interested at picking my brain about it can Google me up, find my email addy in several dozen places, and we can talk privately. Said email addy can also be found on the page I linked to, above.

Also, it's worth noting that upon waking up this morning, I remembered a sixteenth game of huge signifigance to me - Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom. It was at the arcade in college where I played that that I met two people who invited me to join their role-playing group and thus became my circle of collegiate friends.

Although that was more for a moment than a repeated occurrance (again, the first Pokemon game is the game that is to me what Soul Edge is to Eric), that's definitely a prominent game in my life too.

Comment from: Sean Duggan posted at November 6, 2005 12:37 PM

Very neat post. Unfortunately, I have to leave for a play performance, so I can't post anything in-depth right now, but a quick drink suggestion:
50% Vodka
50% Red Wine (I personally like Burgandy, but other flavors work nicely)

It comes out looking a bit like Cherry Cola and it goes down really smooth with a kick like a mule once it hits you. I've never had any troubles with hangovers with it and, in general, it leaves me if a rather clear-minded drunken state, just kind of floating. It's also handy when all you have onhand is the cheap stuff, as the wine provides the flavor and the vodka eases the bite of cheap wine. I ran into the mix in the Dortmunder series by Donald Westlake. Tiny Bulcher drinks them.

Comment from: Yook posted at November 6, 2005 1:02 PM

Eric, that was a fantastic bit of writing. You touched on so many great facets of being human and awake to the world, and a geek. Bravo, dude. Encore! A great thing to read on a sleepy Sunday morning. Thank you.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 6, 2005 1:13 PM

This one, I think, ranks right up there with the dead dog and the dead tires.

Comment from: FrankO posted at November 6, 2005 1:17 PM

Got yer back, bro.

Comment from: John posted at November 6, 2005 2:26 PM

Wow. Loved it. Loved it.

See, as long as it's nominally about webcomics, you can write about whatever the hell you want.

Which makes the previous debate sort of pointless, I realize.

Anyway, great job. And, um, you don't have a problem, do you? I'm just sayin'.

Comment from: Abby L. posted at November 6, 2005 2:43 PM

I have a best friend. Her name is Kelly. Our game is Um Jammer Lammy. I suck without her. :(

Comment from: Copper Hamster posted at November 6, 2005 2:50 PM

This struck a cord with me. I have a Frank. We have a game. A game that doesn't exist anymore. There are no more sequels. The last couple were absolute garbage, the spirit sucked out by the borgish masters that now own the license. Getting it to run on a computer today is effort beyond what I would prefer to do. (I can do it.. I can make computers roll over and do almost anything... but it requires gyrations that are frustrating beyond reason.)

As a note, I agree with you generally 32_footsteps... there are lots of game that are 'my' games. But only one (well, series) is 'our' game.

My Frank.. I'll call him B cause I'm shy... B and I lived those games, and out early friendship together.

B had his problems... more so than me (though in hindsight.. well).

Our friendship became rocky in the later years. He was my brother, yes, but he was the brother who needs help, the first step of which is to help himself. And he wouldn't help himself.

As an aside, I'm not one to drink. I don't like alcohol generally, and I don't like it's effect on me. I've been drunk probably 3 times, and smashed once. The once was when I found out B had died. He had cleaned up.. really he had. gotten a job, gotten married. We talked every once in a while. But the crap he shoved down his throat and up his nose, the stuff he pumped into his arm, it got him even though he had managed to drag himself away from it. Damaged his heart.

My brother not of blood is dead, and so is our game. A game the last iterations of which we never played together.

Eric, I think Frank needs a PS2 christmas... really I do.

I'd think I'd need to go out and pick up some JD... an amazingly difficult thing to do on Sunday considering I live within an hour's drive of the distillery that makes it, but the medicine I'm on doesn't go well with alcohol.

But very good one, Mr. Burns.

Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at November 6, 2005 2:59 PM

I like taking Soul Calibur Quotes and replacing key words with "Meat."



"Meat will prevail! Just kidding!"

"My meat is still pounding..."

"Behold the magnificence of my meat!"

And so on.

Comment from: gwalla posted at November 6, 2005 3:40 PM

Megs: Chop! Chop! Chop!

Comment from: quiller posted at November 6, 2005 3:42 PM

"I said, no meat!"

Comment from: Mali posted at November 6, 2005 4:04 PM

This. This is why I read Websnark. And also why I don't usually feel moved to comment. Because you snark, and then people comment (including, quite often, the subject of your snark - which is, in itself, unutterably cool) and everything that I want to say is said by one of the other articulate voices here. So I read and am moved and entertained and enlightened.

Because it doesn't matter that I'm not a gamer. You have the rare gift of translation: you describe your world in terms that the laymen like me can understand, without underestimating our intelligence. The subject matter of your posts is almost immaterial at this point, because you've proved you can spin any subject into essay gold - drunk or sober.

Having said that, I second The's proposal that NaDruWriNi become a monthly exercise.

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 6, 2005 4:41 PM

Very touching. Video games and relationships have been a part of my life, as well, although not to this degree.

Granted, my fella DID have to log on to tell our guild when I called him to tell him I was in labor... but that's not the same thing.

I do hope you're not miserable this morning; this post was so cool it surely deserves a "get out of hangover free" card.

Comment from: Ceejamon posted at November 6, 2005 4:47 PM

This is one of my favorite snarks yet. Websnark is the only blog I read. As a rule, I don't really care about the lives of others, so I don't read blogs. I'm a pretty shallow person. But I can't stop coming here. I absolutely love Eric's writing, and he makes me care not only about whatever topic he's writing about, but he makes me care about HIM. I often find myself spending my lunch break reading a snark about City of Heros... a game I've NEVER PLAYED. What the hell?

Comment from: Aerin posted at November 6, 2005 6:14 PM

My (biological) sister and I bonded over DDR, the good arcade version that had "Butterfly". All decent multiplexes near where we grew up had a DDR machine in the lobby, so we'd often get a ton of quarters, pick our favorite songs, and put on a show. Especially if there was a line in the lobby for some big movie that had just opened. No one had to know that we had spent hours practicing those particular songs, they just had to know that we were damn good at it. Now, said sister is in her second month in Intensive Care, so I find DDR vaguely depressing at the moment. (The same thing with the Wicked soundtrack, but that's not really relevant to this discussion.)

Our other game that we also shared with our older brother was Mario Kart 64. We spent so many hours on that game...

Comment from: miyaa posted at November 6, 2005 6:22 PM

1. Ray, you forgot the most important part of Civ IV. They got Leonard Nimoy to do some quickie voice-overs when you discover something new. That's gotta be worth something right there. The one thing I do miss from Civ II was how when you tried to consult your advisors during a period of anarchy they'd all be talking at once and doing all sorts of goofy stuff. That was cool.

2. Alex: Why the heck aren't you in Cyprus? (As I'm asking to myself why aren't I joining my sister in Sweden. Siblings don't let other siblings get stuck living in locales like crappy Missouri.)

3. 32: I liked Dungeon and Dragons: Tower of Doom, but I love Dungeon and Dragons: Shadows over Mystara even better. I particularly liked the part where the red dragon asked three times if you really wanted to fight him before he starts to unceremoniously breath fire down your ass.(There's no way I could defeat the dragon without at least plonking down $5 worth of quarters.) On that vein, I also love playing Dungeon Seige (they have the best names for weapons ever), and Neverwinter Nights (I can't wait for NWN 2: Electric Bugaloo. Sorry, MST3K joke.)

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 6, 2005 7:14 PM

Aerin, I can name two really good DDR arcade games with Butterfly (DDR Extreme and DDR 4th Mix) and a decent one with the song as well (DDR 3rd Mix). Do you remember anything else in that version?

What does it say that I think Copper Hamster is talking about the Army Men series? There's a couple other ones that are possibilities, but that does sound like that series' quality arc.

Though Copper's story does remind me of another friend of mine, also deceased, and what we shared. The funny thing was, he liked many of the same games I did, but I remember most that he and I had a vast appreciation of Tim Burton movies (one of our best times together was a double-date to see Mars Attacks!). Now, whenever I watch a Tim burton movie, I think of my late friend Quin.

Miyaa, I would agree, overall, that Shadows over Mystara was a superior game. However, I met someof my dearest friends at an arcade playing Tower of Doom. Most of the people that dominated my social life for four formative years all came into my life based on that machine (and not necessarily by me playing it, either). I'm discussing emotionally significant, not necessarily gameplay-significant. And I *always* played the dwarf.

And the funny thing is, this essay really isn't about video games at all. That's why I'm not actually discussing game quality here at all. It's about the objects which have signifigance because of the memories surrounding them. It's just in this case, said objects cause carpal tunnel syndrome if you're not good about hand exercizes.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 6, 2005 7:16 PM

proposal that NaDruWriNi become a monthly exercise

I'd give Eric's stomach veto power on the proposal, but otherwise yeah. And in any case, next time, not on a night when I'm attending a reunion of my high school's 1976 Music Man cast.

Phil - you oughta closed with "pounding".

Comment from: Mostly Harmless posted at November 6, 2005 8:43 PM

I've so often gone to comment on a Snark, only to get scared off by the quality of discussion that goes on here, and the fact that I'd have to sign up for another damn internet service. I just had to sign up and comment on this one.

Amazing writing here Eric, chalk up another person you've brought to the verge of tears with your writing. This has to be one of my favourite Snarks ever. Oddly enough, my other favourite is from this summer when you were away at a convention of some sort, and were reminiscing over the loss of a friend (and IIRC you were under the influence of alcohol then too?). I guess the reason I loved this one so much is that it really made me wish I had a brother, a Frank of my own. I've experienced the bonding over videogames thing, but never to this extent.

My parents roll their eyes when I tell them I spent yet another night sitting around playing videogames with my friends. I should get them to read this post, maybe it could help them understand what a great bonding experience videogames can be.

Anyway, thanks a lot for Websnark, posts as entertaining and well written as these bring me back day after day.

Comment from: Aerin posted at November 6, 2005 9:17 PM

32: I think it was a later mix, 6th or 7th. I remember the machine being green. Our killer combo was "Butterfly", "Midnight Blaze", "Captain Jack", and "Rhythm and Police". If it was set to play five songs, we'd throw either a "Candy" or "Paranoia" into the mix. Complete with spins, twirls, and occasional bouts of doing half the song while facing away from the screen. We OWNED those four songs. *sigh* Memories...

And then there's the fact that the last time I saw my first love, we were playing Mario Party. I'd never really connected these events in my life to video games before. Thanks, Eric.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 6, 2005 9:57 PM

That run could only be done in DDR Extreme (8th Mix). Butterfly wasn't in 6th or 7th Mix (and Midnight Blaze debuted in 6th, so it couldn't have been an earlier mix). Also, DDR Extreme was green.

I probably have three emblematic runs myself. Candy Lyrical, Midnight Blaze, and Break Down was the long-time favorite of my friend Chris with me. Cowgirl, Bag, and Captain Jack is the run that goes with my wife the best. And for the all-special wedding run, I get to play I Do I Do I Do, Kind Lady, and On The Jazz.

Something you can say for DDR players - a 3 or 4 song set (depending on what your arcade is set for) can have some pretty potent memories attached, too.

And if I had to choose a run that represented me best? Healing Vision, Absolute, and TwinBee Final Offset.

Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at November 6, 2005 11:05 PM

Man, this is so... beautiful.

I don't think I have a Frank. Certainly, I've got someone I bonded with over video games (SSB and SSBM and my brother in my case) but I can't say I've got his back and I don't know if he has mine.

In the original, I can't hold a candle to him. He is the king of SSB. He plays Ness (who was extremely unbalanced) and I play Fox.

But when SSBM came out, we were shocked. Ness was bad, actually quite lame this time around. Captain Falcon was almost too fast to control. He fumbled around with the characters for a while, not really finding his zone. (I also fumbled around quite a bit)

Then we unlocked Ganondorf, and Jamie found his zone again. He was unstoppable, until I found my niche character: Falco.

Now we are almost equal. He leads by a small margin, winning somewhere around sixty percent of our matches. When we play, it is not fighting so much as it is an interpretive dance of foul and fowl.

We bonded, but man, I don't think I have his back.

I feel like a traitor.

Comment from: Benor posted at November 6, 2005 11:36 PM

I just couldn't get into DDR. I've got size 19 feet, and they do NOT stay on the little pads.

But yeah, I loved the SCII goodness too. I'd played Soul Caliber before, but SCII came out for Gamecube. And after the crappy fighting games we saw on the 64, aside from Smash Brothers, I needed it. Bad. Especially with Link, who was actually a good, solid character that fit in well with the others, unlike Heihachi and (ugh) Spawn...or Necrid...

Comment from: miyaa posted at November 7, 2005 12:13 AM

I knew a girl in high school who had size 19 feet and stood at a large 5' 5". Had a laugh that could actually shatter glass. It has happened, I saw it for myself. Her shoes were bigger than those gravy boats you see on Thanksgiving. She could never wear high heels.

32: I hear ya. I just sucked at Tower of Doom. I don't know if you could have fond memories playing with others if you absolutely sucked at a game. (The rogue, dwarf and elf rocked. The wizard, not so much.)

"I am the strongest meat in the world." Hmm...doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

Comment from: Wistful Dreamer posted at November 7, 2005 12:24 AM

"Eric, this is simply put, my life."

It's all of ours, Dorkboy. That's what a good writer does, finds something that his audience can connect with -- contextually, emotionally, completely. Eric has given us a slice of what we all feel. Some of us have had those brothers die or betray us. For some of us the genders are switched around. Some of us the common bond wasn't a video game but instead a band, bar, hobby, or place. But all of us can remember back to a time that now feels simpler and purer (and either much better or much worse, it was our formative years after all). We all had perfect, wonderful people that hadn't yet discovered who they were so that they had to move far away from us. People we now fondly remember and can now connect with only in small ways because we've diverged so much. It's a universal theme (at least for adults), and Eric made us all part of his and made us feel like it was our own. I think I can make an early prediction that this one is going out of the park (and this is a domed stadium, you're paying for that roof Mr. Burns!).

"Eric, that was a fantastic bit of writing. You touched on so many great facets of being human and awake to the world"


",and a nerd."

I've got the pictures of me behind a 300 baud modem to prove it. :)

heh, first impressions can be misleading.

Before I figured out what NaDruWriNi was, I was worried that this was a sign of the start of a self destructive downward spiral. It isn't like running this blog has been kind to Eric this month or so. I saw that he'd broken into his bottle of General Stark, and got worried. I thought, "Uh-oh, this is his Book Scotch."

You see, I have this "book". It is actually a false book. You open the front cover and realize that it is hollowed out, and contains a fifth of scotch and two shot glasses. It was a college gift to my great uncle, probably from his "Frank". The tax stamp says that it was produced in 1942. Yes, I have a 63 year old bottle of scotch. I'm a heavy drinker, one that sometimes worries about it. I'm currently on a one month hiatus to prove that I can. The book scotch is my coal mine canary: if I ever open that bottle, I walk into AA the next day.

Eric, I first thought you posting drunk was a sign of things going bad (not alcoholism, just some real frustration going on). Even for an organized event, that much booze with a gastric bypass and recent CHF is pretty serious. I realize my concern came from a misunderstanding, but know that it was real. Take care of yourself.

My game of choice was the original Legend of Zelda, played in the basement with my brother and Jae S. Jae later turned out to be an antisocial, lying manipulator that could set me and my brother against one another or take us for anything we had (in terms of the pocket change we dealt with as prepubes and teenagers). Later, Matt and Dave would be my "Frank", but we never developed a constant common function until the "Settlers of Catan" board game came out. It was enough that we went to the same school and did the same things.

Great article Eric. I'm going to go sit and think about how much my life has changed. Have fun with your PS2.

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at November 7, 2005 1:23 AM

I had the Xbox version of SCII and Spawn turned out to actually be a pretty fun character to play, and his hand-held axe and moves were rather neat (this coming from an embittered ex-Spawn reader). Of course, he was kind of cheap since he had projectile attacks, but so did Link. And he actually really didn't look too out of place in a game with dudes like Astaroth, Nightmare, Lizardman, and Voldo. Out of the three exclusive characters, Heihachi was the lamest.

Necrid however was made of lame and suck.

Although I do think I'll take Create-a-Character over platform exclusive guys any day. Though I usually only make stupid ones, like Kitty-sama the winged cat-girl and Battle Pope.

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 7, 2005 7:16 AM

I've so often gone to comment on a Snark, only to get scared off by the quality of discussion that goes on here

Oh, man, I have felt THIS. Not recently, mind, I sort of got over it a while back. But I still feel like the village idiot compared to the other "regulars" on occasion. I've learned, however, to keep the drool off the keyboard, and they seem to humor me.

Comment from: Danalog posted at November 7, 2005 10:04 AM

That entry made me cry, and I'm at work.

Your writing is still and always beautiful when you put your soul into it, Eric.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 7, 2005 10:25 AM

Hey, Eric █ Frank is the guy who barred the door when Malachite came a-knocking, right?

There's a lot of Frank in Jack. And that particular scene was Frank all the way.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at November 7, 2005 11:19 AM

The game me and my "Frank" (my friend Thomas) played was SSB too. But for the most part we bonded over single player games, mainly Chrono Trigger (as evidenced by that Halloween that Thomas, his brother, another friend and I dressed up as the male CT characters).

This summer, are game was Chrono Cross. He had it for ages of course, but we finnaly all decided to beat it (him, his brother and I).

Speaking of CC, I think it tops any Final Fantasy game. And I wanted to agree with whoever said FF( was the best FF.

I also think that FF7 is the Stairway to Heaven of games. Pretty mediocre, but hailed as being the greatest, because everyone else says so.

This is the first time I have been able to sign into type key in days.

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at November 7, 2005 12:58 PM

People love FF7, because for a lot of people it was their first, and a lot of people hold a special place in their hearts for their first exposure to something. This is also why they tend to get upset when someone else bad mouths it.

Comment from: Ian K. posted at November 7, 2005 1:39 PM

I have a Frank. His name is Joe. Joe was a linebacker, I was a gymnast. Our game is X-Men: Next Dimension.

We have done the fastball special.

Comment from: Karacan posted at November 7, 2005 1:41 PM

This is pretty much the reason why I prefer roleplaying games whith a small group of friends and a bottle (or two) of fine good whiskey. If you have a head for it, creativity leaks out of unexpected pores... um... well... in a pleasant way, that is. Makes roleplaying sessions expensive and a lot rarer than I'd like to, though...

Anyway, having been a 7 year old with a 300 baud modem definitely left its mark on me as well. Two of my best friends I'm knowing for close to 20 years now have been met over the local mailbox scene these days.

I've never been a console gamer, but even so, there were games which invoke very strong memories within - the first and foremost being my alltime favourite, Archon on my C64. To this very day, it's the one reason I still have one and keeping my two Quickthrust joysticks in top shape. The second was Bloodwych on my Amiga... the first dungeon game I ever played through, without a hint or map or guide. It also taught me a lot of interesting english phrases with the ability to creatively insult monsters and shopkeepers...
Then there was Legend Of Faerghail (I'm pretty certain I spelled that correctly, which shows the amount of dedication), also on the Amiga, whose starting music was continously running in the background. I have never managed to find it again, but I still find myself hearing that haunting guitar lodged somewhere in my brain, and it sends shivers down my spine, a sense of loss and despair, for I used that game to retreat into a better world of fantasy for a few days...

Alright, now I need a drink. Damn you, next year I'm right there, drunk and writing.

Comment from: Karacan posted at November 7, 2005 1:53 PM

Oh, and my Frank left Germany for the US a summer two years ago. While we tended to call each other "sister" instead of brother (because of our mutual bitchiness and the fun looks we received while visiting London - we've been the only two males walking together, we've been the only two long-haired males in the whole goddamn town, and we've also been the only two guys all dressed in black in an english summer in all of the city, I swear).

Yeah, I miss him terribly.

Comment from: Copper Hamster posted at November 8, 2005 2:02 PM

32, it's not Army Men.

I'll give you a hint, the soul sucking vampires of Electronic Arts (I used to LIKE Electronic Arts games... but that was when I owned an Apple //e) are involved.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 8, 2005 2:13 PM

First, a humorous fact - the guy often blamed for sucking the fun out of the Army Men series helps run EA now. So in a way, I was close.

But geez, you want me to pick a series EA has rights over that they've killed the fun in? You're going to have to throw me a bone here. I mean, it could be the Sim* games, Madden, SSX, Burnout... there's so many to choose from.

Comment from: Copper Hamster posted at November 8, 2005 3:39 PM

I played it on my Apple //e, so it's an earlier game than say, SSX.

Comment from: Fredrik Nyman [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at June 22, 2006 2:26 PM

Oh man... those were the days... Now I feel old.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at June 28, 2006 5:02 PM

We're all old, Ice. But damn it, it's a good kind of old.

I think I'm still sobering up, though.

Comment from: Irishlass [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at July 6, 2006 4:31 PM

Hi Eric/Sabre/Friend:

I just happened to come across your post. I remember those days very fondly as well. Reading this brought a happy tear to my eye and a smile to my lips. I have lost touch with you many times and am always happy to find a piece of you here and there since you no longer live in the Finger Lakes region anymore. I run into Becky & Frank now and again. It's funny how in some ways time stands still when we are in the presence of old friends. I hope all is well with you and drop us a line sometime.

Hugs & kisses,
the beautiful and seductive (and engaged) memory

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