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VIDEO GAMES

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Oct 16, 02 - 10:43 AM



The Duel

My final game of Daytona USA in an arcade

It was 1997.

After it's peak back in 1994, fewer and fewer arcades in Tampa carried Sega's Daytona USA, especially when they were linked to go head to head. Arcades in general seemed to be declining, as powerful 32 bit consoles became common place in homes.
During the Spring of 1997, my friend Raquel came home from college in Ft Lauderdale. It was her birthday, too, and I was looking forward to touching base with her. So, her family threw her a birthday party at a bowling alley near Tampa International Airport, and I was to attend after getting off of work at my Bank job. So, I went.
Now, I love games. I love games so much that I'm very serious about them. When you say "games", however, it strictly pertains to video games. I don't understand most card games (except for UNO and Go Fish), haven't played a board game in 20 years (Chess, which I play often, is not a board game in my opinion, Role Playing games are cool, but I no longer have time to play them.), and think sports are dumb. The only none video game games that I like would be pinball and miniature golf So, we go to a game called "Bowling".
Bowling, as I soon found out, is a blue collar sport. I still tried to play it, though. To this day, I still suck at it, too.
Anyway, when I got there, Raquel had a friend there named Joe. Joe was this guy who had romantic intentions toward this girl, and he was a bit assholish- jealous and competitive. Raquel had lots of friends, too, and most of them were really into the Christianity stuff. So, Joe was supposedly a churchboy. I, of course, was not.
When I got there, Joe stared me down, and we talked a bit as the girls began to bowl. I noticed two Daytona USA machines in the Arcade area, and mentioned it. Joe said that he and his friends played it a lot, and that he was good. Well, a few moments later, he challenged me to a game.
We went into the arcade, sat down, and I beat him. It WAS a close race, but he didn't like that too well.
We played several bowling games throughout the night, where he beat me, of course, until Raquel asked how the game went in the arcade. Joe frowned as he admitted that he had lost at Daytona USA, and toward the end he wanted a rematch.
We went into the arcade again, and the race was on, this time with Raquel watching. I had a bad start, however, and Joe beat me. That's when it happened. Joe went into a session of going on about how he had beat me at "my game". I looked at Raquel in the eye. I smiled. I asked Joe if he wanted to go one more time. Joe's confidence was through the roof, and he accepted without hesitation.
The race started. I smiled again. This time, we had a small crowd, including Raquel.
I proceeded to use a tactic called "hunting", which infuriates the other player by making them crash as much as possible. Lap times are reduced, but a win usually comes from pissing off your opponent. So, on every turn, I rammed his car from the inside. One crash. Two crashes. Three.
Joe began to swear, which shocked Raquel. Hi car wobbled down the course as mine still did not have a scratch. I slowed down, braking, and rammed him again. His car flipped and tumbled by Sonic's stone face on the side of a cliff. A fourth crash. It was priceless!
Joe began to use profanity that I never heard used before. Raquel's face was red from the language used by her suitor. My undamaged car screamed across the finish line. So went the greatest game of Daytona of my life. It was also the last time that I would play it in the arcade.
Months later, at a theme event that my company did for Raquel's graduation party, Joe and I would have a rematch with the Playstation game Ridge Racer Revolution.

The Duel II

Ridge Racer Revolution settles an old score

In early 1998, one of the companies that I own rolled out Theme Event services. We wanted to test some new things out, so we decided to do a freebie for my friend Raquel. One of those things that we wanted to try out were video games in a party environment, kind of like the scene from the movie "Hackers".
Raquel didn't understand video games. To sell the idea to her, I bought another Playstation, and let her borrow the old one. She finally played it enough over the weeks that she had it to finally give me the ok to bring the games to the party.
On January 31st, 1998, we had that party. We also had 2 TV's, 2 Playstations with a link cable and Namco NegCon racing controllers, a ton of Playstation games, and a N64 with games like Goldeneye and four controllers. The plan was to set the N64 up in a room on the second floor, as there was a large screen TV there. Ironically, the club house where we had the event was overbooked, which we found out upon arrival, and our second floor room was taken by some mean women with a bridal shower, so the N64 ended up on the floor behind the Playstations, and it wasn't hooked up all night . Since my Cyber Jockey (CJ- Person who was to run the game tournaments) called in sick, and I had other issues to deal with, such as a dancer who left before the event began, I barely had time to set up the Playstations and load the settings from the memory card. So, I put a copy of Ridge Racer Revolution in each machine, attached the link cable, loaded the settings, and walked away from the games for most of the night. Both Playstations and TV's sat there playing the attract screens of Ridge Racer over and over again. I glanced over toward them as we wired a speaker and did a sound check in the DJ area. The yellow car, two seconds out of synch, rounded a corner and jumped a dip in the road. The guests were about to arrive.
What happened next exceeded my expectations.
While people packed the dance floor and ate by the bar area, the Playstations had a line of people leading to them! The games were played constantly all night long, by both men and women. Head to head linked Ridge Racer was the hit of the event.
As the event ended, we started tearing down. Raquel had this friend, a guy named Joe, and I had beat him badly months before during a game of Daytona USA in an arcade. He wanted to play me at a game of Ridge Racer now. My DJ was tearing down, and I told him that I'd help in a minute. Joe and I had time for one game.
I selected one of the maneuverable cars, and noticed that Joe had selected the fast yellow car over at the Playstation that he was on. I knew that I'd be in trouble against that car in a straight run, so I came up with a plan that would be sure to piss him off.
Ridge Racer Revolution was the first Ridge Racer game with a mirror. That mirror feature was about to be my friend.
Joe and I raced. I paid close attention to the mirror as I slid around corners. The yellow car gained. I blocked every attempt to pass. Joe started to swear as he grew frustrated. I won.
The party wrapped, and I never saw my arcade nemesis again. To me, though, facing off with Joe at a game at one of my parties was the best part about that night.


Jul 03, 03 - 5:17 PM



Here is a story of some interest. It involves the first video game system and cart that I ever bought. To this day, it was the one purchase that was worth it to me, and the one that I am most fond of. Please note that I am writing from the perspective of not knowing what each video game was in some areas of this article. At the present time, I am every bit of a video game expert, with over ten years of study in the field. There was a time, however, when I was not.
In 1991, I was an underground DJ who mainly did underground mix tapes and threw hotel parties. I was President of the Alpha Beta Delta fraternity at the beginning of the year, and lost it when we all were kicked out of college that Summer (The college was one of those low rent trade colleges, so my credits were worthless, as I found out in 1993. I later went to two real Universities, but that's another story). In the Fall of 1991, my friends and I planned the ultimate hotel party, and this would be the first to have video games!
At the time, I had always wanted a NES like my friends. We even borrowed a few and played rented games, and I always went over to my best friends house to play games like Ikari Warriors and (ahem) Bayou Billy. As you could tell, I played games, but I was no expert. I was as naive about what to get as a non player.
I looked into getting a one of those new Sega Genesis consoles, but at over $200.00 it was too expensive, and the NES was only $130.00. Still, both were beyond my budget (I made $4.50 an hour back then). My best friend told me something about his friend being willing to sell me a powerful 16 Bit system called the Turbographix 16, and it came with this awesome game called Bonk! I was set to buy the console for us to play during the party. Thank God that I didn't and I ran out of money, because the party ended in a huge riot, and it would have been stolen had I brought it in.
The riot, and the girl who was behind it, got me in a lot of trouble, and I went through a year of moving in and out of friends homes and on the streets. In 1992, though, I finally settled down and moved in with my Grandmother to rebuild my life. The first thing that I needed to start my new life, after saving for a few months for it, was a brand new copy of Zelda, a link to the past! Of course, to play it I would need a bad ass little system called the Super NES.
It was the first time that I ever bought any video game, and it set me back $160.00. It was the sweetest $160.00 that I ever spent. I took it home, listened to my Grandmother whine for an hour on how I had wasted my money and needed a car, and hooked it up. When I turned it on, I was blown away by what I saw on the screen. My Grandmother, however, who was a bible thumper, started whining again. This time, it was about the "evil wizards" in the game, and that it was sinful. Well, She let me keep it, but hated the game. Yes, this was the same Grandmother from the Mortal Khristmas article, too.
In 1993 I was back in college and was about to buy a car. I was days from buying that car, too. Well, I made friends in college, and one day called up one of them. His name was Tony, and he had a sister, who answered the phone. I hit it off with his sister, who was 17 about to turn 18. I was 23 at the time, and was already into my entertainment production training, and had started DJ'ing again after buying more equipment. Her name was Mary.
Mary was the owner of a Super NES, and although I had never met her in person, we found out that we both liked games. We also both had Zelda, and I was the only one who has beaten it. One night, we started talking about it, and wished that I had a way over to her house to help her play it. That's when we came up with the idea to play it at the same time over the phone.
We played for six hours that night, exploring each area at the same time. It was an unforgettable experience, and was the first true two player game of Zelda. I will never forget it.
The point of this story? Well, we are not limited to the uses that the game makers design the games for. With creativity, you can use games in ways that no one has ever done before. To this day, we now have video game tournaments at my company's theme events. I also still have that original Super NES and Zelda cart, and they are in mint condition in the studio.
Does anyone else have any gaming stories that they would like to share?

Author Subject: RE: Daytona USA

Posts: Feb 21, 02 - 9:53 AM



Edited by Geomedian on Feb 21 2002 9:56AM
One of my greatest arcade adventures happened eight years ago with Sega's Daytona USA. Designed by Yu Suzuki's legendary AM2 team, this was possibly the greatest arcade racer ever made.
The following, which was posted in mailbag a long time ago, is an account of that night. I almost got into a fight, but it was worth it.
___________________________________________________________
Back in 1994, there was a huge Arcade here in Tampa at a bowling ally a couple of blocks from my house. My friends and I would go there on the weekends and hang out, participating in Daytona USA tournaments and celebrating afterwards by toasting the winners with microbrewed beer at the Bar. Well, a lot of teenage girls and college women like to play, too, and there were tons of attractive, often intoxicated ladies in the arcade with us. The Arcade had two rows of the 8 player linked cabinets, and 16 people could play at once.
One night, we got there to the usual long lines. I wanted to pass the time during the long waits between games, and noticed a gorgeous, 19 year old latin princess with a stack of golden tokens at the far end of one of the rows. I watched her, and in the rare moments that I wasn't checking her out, I noticed that she was a good player. Not as good as my brother, mind you, but possibly as good as myself, and my brother and I always seemed to pull 1st place finishes.
This realized, I couldn't resist.
I approached her, talking over her shoulder as she raced. "Hey, do you see that slot machine whirling over you every lap?"
She glanced at me. Smiled warmly. Snapped back to the game as a car careened into her and slammed her into a wall. She winced.
"Yeah, what about it?"
"I can get you free plays."
"Really? I've heard about that..... Something about a jackpot. What do you suggest?"
I smiled. I expected her to say that. Time to move in.
"Well, I can try to get triple 7's......."
I smiled again. She was at the far left end of the row, which was always occupied by all eight players. The start button, the button that I needed to push, was on her right. It was quite inaccessible from where I was. I motioned to the distant button.
"..... But, I need to get to the start button over there. I can't squeeze in between you and the other player next to you to get to it, though..."
She giggled. "Well? If you can do it, do it. You can lean over me if you don't get in my way."
I leaned into her cabinet, but we quickly discovered that the best, and far more comfortable position was to put my head on her lap, with one hand on the start button. She didn't seem to mind, and I was in heaven, as she was very shapely and smelled nice. I had to remind myself to watch for the slot machine and jam on the start button instead of watch her from below. It was quite difficult.
"By the way, I'm Chris..... " I sighed.
"Hi Chris" She laughed, " My name is Kelly. Nice to meet you".
"Same here, Kelly. You seem familiar ,now that I think about it."
"Really?" She replied, "You do, too."
"Well, it'll come to us. In the meantime, let's see how lucky we get with this."
She blushed.
We played like that for a good thirty minutes. I started to get a slight buzz from her perfume, and seeing the track blasting by from my side view was.... interesting. I figured that I'd skip the beer tonight after this little adventure. I'd tap the slot machine via the button on every lap, which grew into entire games. Her stack of tokens began to shrink.
We were enjoying ourselves, playing the game on two fronts, working as a team. Unknown to us, new competition entered the room. Her Boyfriend.
Well, it was tough. My friends intervened, warning me and posing as a potent deterrent as he stared me down. I told Kelly bye and we left the arcade, the boyfriend muttering something in our wake. He looked familiar, too, come to think of it. It was then that my friend Eric told me that the guy worked there.
Several weeks later, on a busy Saturday night, a few of us walked into the other side of the arcade to play some fighting games. It was there that I saw her. She was working behind the counter, with her boyfriend, who was distracted by arguing with a customer about shoe rentals or something. She made eye contact with me. She smiled, winked. We made our way past, and the boyfriend noticed me. He scowled as we loaded up on tokens and proceeded to play. I glanced back at her over my shoulder.
I soon moved, and never saw her again.
I never did win at that Daytona slot sub game, either.
___________________________________________________________

It's hard to find eight player set ups like that anymore, and I couldn't even recall the last time that I saw a Daytona USA coin op. I'm in heaven with Daytona USA for the Dreamcast, though.
One day, I'm going to get two of the Daytona USA arcade machines and restore them. Both model 2 powered units will then be combined for head to head action, an experience tough to replicate on a console.
Do any of you have any Daytona USA stories? I have another, but I haven't wrote it out yet (it ties in with Ridge Racer Revolution).

Mortal Kombat Sold

Mortal Kombat brings back a lot of cool memories. I am a producer for several Entertainment companies, and video games have been a big part of my life for all of my life. I was born in 1969, so by the time I was 7, games like Pong were just starting to come out. At any rate, I was a casual player until I was 21, back in 1991, when an ex girlfriend made me play Super Mario World on her brand new Super NES.
I had been a Fraternity President for my first two years in college. During that time, we had several parties, and I couldn't understand my Fraternity brothers when they gathered in a corner and played Super Mario Bros 3 on the house N.E.S. I mean, I loved games, but I'd much rather be hitting on the girls and socializing than playing games in a social scene.
Well, in 1991, my G'friend begged me to play Mario World with her, and the rich 16 Bit graphics of the game made it look cool to me. So, I started playing. I sucked, too.
She came upon an ingenious plan to get me into the game. She told me that for every level that I could clear without losing a life, she'd remove an article of clothing. If I could beat her in a game, she'd do anything that I asked her. Suffice it to say, I got very good very fast, as she was a very beautiful girl.
Well, at that point, I really got into the game culture, and have been ever since. She is no longer in my life, but the games that she got me into are still with me. It is hard to play Mario World now without getting a bit choked up over her not playing with
me.
When Mortal Kombat came out, my friends and I were really into playing Street fighter II on my Super N.e.s. (Which I had bought to play ZELDA... heh heh). Well, We liked Mortal Kombat a lot, and when it came home (ah..... sweet mortal Monday, remember that? I put off a brake job on my car to be able to get the cart, and almost rear ended a car reading the box on the drive home.. Damn brakes!), I was really pissed off that Nintendo had censored the version for the Super N.e.s. So pissed off, in fact, that I went out and bought a Genesis JUST so I could get the uncensored version. You could say that Mortal Kombat was the game that got me into owning different consoles. At any rate, while the Super N.e.s. version did have better graphics, the Genesis version was more playable. That would change with MK II for the Super N.E.S., though, which was superior in every way to the Genesis version. Speaking of MK II, the day that I first saw it in the arcade was a memorable one. I was in a video game store, and some guys came in ranting about Sub Zero's new ground freeze, etc, and I thought that they were making it up. They told me to go to the arcade and see for myself, and that is where my jaw dropped. I was in love. MK II was the high point of the Mortal Kombat series. My friends and I would play it every weekend, and noticed MK II Otaku with streaming printouts of moves that they snagged from the Internet (which was usenet and BBI back then, which I knew nothing about.)
Anyway, at that moment in Arcade History, Mortal Kombat fever struck.
In 93 and 94', when the home versions of Mortal Kombat's I and II came out, I bought them on the days that they were released. At the time, I was staying with my church going Grandmother, who thought that the games were "Satanic". Well, our Christmas Eve family gatherings were boring for us young people, so on Christmas Eve, 1993, I held the first annual "Mortal Kristmas" in my bedroom, with A Super Nes, A Genesis, two TV's, and two copies of Mortal Kombat running constantly. The room was packed all night with cousins and siblings killing each other, and my Grandmother was unhappy about it (We did have fun, though.)
The Christmas of 94, I did it again, with the Super Nes version of MK II and the Sega CD version of Mortal Kombat. Other than someone breaking out a game of Donkey Kong Country, the tournament was better than ever. Unfortunately, it was our last Mortal Kristmas.
I still play my Super Nes copy of MK II to this day. Mortal Kombat as a series grew worse with each sequel, but I did get a lot of good games in one night of MK 4, on my N64, with one of my fashion models earlier this year as we were waiting to leave for a party. She mopped the floor with me.
It wasn't nearly as fun as strip Mario so many years before, though.

__________________________________________________________

Trapped with night trap

Ok, are you guys ready for another story?
I actually have two. The first is in 1994, and the second was last year.
In 1994, the senators were at war with the Industry. Night Trap, from the ill fated Digital Pictures, was making national news, and the general public condemned the "Evil" game. As a serious collector, I had to have the game while I could get it.
I called my contacts. At the time, it was only available for the Sega CD, and non of my friends could get it for me. It seemed that every copy in Tampa was sold out because of all of the controversy.
I was determined to score a copy, though, and a friend that live an hour south of me told me that his friend had a mint copy, and was willing to sell it to me at full retail. So, I drove an hour to get it, and once I brought it back home, I stashed it. I played the game, and wasn't that impressed with it. It was hardly a game, had minimal interactivity, and grainy video. At the time, I didn't mind the acting (although after years of acting on TV myself, and recently auditioning dozens of actors for my independent film, I can honestly say that it sucked, too. May Dana Plato rest in peace). Anyway, once I accepted it for what it was, which was an interactive video, it came to have a certain charm that grew on me. I snagged a walk through from a magazine, and learned the patterns to the game. There was a reason, you see. I had a plan (and, as you're about to see, a lot of time on my hands).
The public thought that the game was violent pornography, and I intended to freak some people out. There was a store near my house called Game World. In this place, you could play video games from a variety of systems on large screen TV's. At this time, the 3DO version was out, so I rented some time with a 3DO, a copy of the banned game, and the centerpiece big screen, a rear projection unit that was over 60 inches. The location was on a platform over looking the whole store, and you could see and hear anything on it as far as the sidewalk in front of the place.
Time to play.
There were several dozen people in the store, including three preppy, anti video game college girls there with their boyfriends. I booted it up and played through to the first drilling with the blonde in the bathroom. I let her get drilled. The girls were freaking out, and one of them pleaded for me to stop the sick game. Their boyfriends played along with me, and got a kick out of the situation. Everyone in the store, though, thought I was a terrible person.
After a calmed the most vocal girl down, I let her play. By the time we finished, roughly an hour later, people, including her, were saying that the game wasn't as bad as the media was making it out to be.
Even though people got an education about the entertainment value of Night Trap, I was already happy. I just wanted to freak people out, and at first, I did.
In 1995, I bought a mint condition, used 3DO for $70.00, which was 90% off of the MSRP. My friends threw in a new copy of Night Trap, which I still have. As for the Sega CD, I have that, too, and am about to let my senior model Michael borrow it so he can get to play Snatcher, quite possibly the best reason to own the Sega CD.
Today I tried a little experiment. I used google to search the Internet for some video game saves that I uploaded back in 1998. I got them there with the Playstation and Nintendo 64 versions of the Dex Drive. I was surprised by what I've found.
My game save files are on thousands of web sites all over the world, primarily the Playstation games Road Rash and Rage Racer. If you get them off of a web site anywhere, there is a 99.999% chance that they're mine. Some of these sites tried to put their credits on them, but they weren't able to change the configuration. It's my work, but I really don't care. It's just cool. Reminds me of a line that I heard from "News Radio": Deleting anything off the Internet is like removing pee from a swimming pool.
Once something is on the net, I guess it takes on a life of its own. The dominance of my dex files proves another thing, too. People would rather take and re post than make something of their own. Perhaps the same goes for pictures, eh?
The games are more than cracked files, though. I put some cool customized features that no one can remove. With Rage Racer, for example, I have a customized car that I made for a friends party back in 1997 called the "Team Mary Kay" racer. It is black and pink, with a Mary Kay logo painted on it. I guess that gamers liked it, because it's a posted feature of every file that I could find. Too funny. Yes, I have a sense of humor.
Go to Google, type in "rage racer dex drive", or "road rash dex drive", and see for yourself.
Probably the coolest thing that I've done with the devices would be downloading 100% complete games of the Nintendo 64 game "Perfect Dark", and using all of the unlocked features to make up my own levels. Four of those levels are classics. They are "Lair Zero", "Predator", "Chaos", and "O.J. Simps". I took a card to my friend's video game store at the mall once, transferred "Lair Zero" to the store copy of the game, and left. When I returned, there was a line of people all the way out the door into the main hall waiting to play it. I guess all that time spent polishing it paid off. Those guys were going crazy over it. Some time soon, I may explain how the level was built, and how it was balanced out. I love games, and can't wait to start making them.
I'll get the chance after we finish my film.
__________________________________________________________

From: Geomedia

Subject: Virtual Boy craze
There was actually someone who liked the virtual boy? I bought 20 of them!

Actually, I'm a hardcore gamer, and an avid collector of video game consoles. When the local stores started liquidating their Virtual Boy stock a couple of years ago at $25.00 apiece, I bought one. I admit it was gimmicky, but the games were playable. Hell, my dad, the anti-gamer that he is, wanted to try it when he first saw it, and liked it. Anyway, I work in a Bank call center, and took it to work and set it up on my desk alongside my computer. People started trying it out, and before long they were asking how much they were. When I told them $50.00, they were surprised that they were so cheap, and wanted to get some.

Well, there were boxes of them in the middle of those stores, stacked in six foot tall piles. The gamers were largely ignoring them, and since these coworkers were hardly gamers, I bought all of the stock. My dad sold some to his coworkers for $70.00 apiece, and I carried stacks of them into my call center. They sold as fast as I could carry them in. Before long, there were little red boxes springing up in cubicles all over the building. Girls loved them, as did the guys. One girl wanted one for herself and one for her three year old son. I flat out told her that I wouldn't sell one for her son, who's eyesight would be at risk. I dropped another on my bedroom floor, and misaligned the optics because of the impact (I knew this because I assembled and tested most of the Virtual Boys in my bedroom turned assembly area before re-packing them for sale).

Anyway, I decided to turn this Virtual Boy into an optical weapon. I packed it up and sold it to this jerk who I worked with. Sure enough, he started getting migraine headaches, and a month after playing his virtual boy, he had to get these really thick eyeglasses.

Anyway, Management at the bank became concerned with lost productivity, and the sight of dozens of employee's with their faces stuck into the little gadgets. They were banned a few weeks later from the office. Suffice it to say, I didn't get a single return from any of my vict- I mean, "customers". To this day, most of them still play.

I kept the best one. It's still in mint condition, and sits high on a shelf among my collection. I seldom play it, as it give me a headache at times. I like the design of the little game bot, as it adds to the decor of my production studio.

..........................................................

Original Response: And I thought those previous letters were weird.

Not only did you rip-off a ton of people by selling VB's to morons who thought they were cool (did the bank you worked in contain a lot of toxic fumes?), but you destroyed a co-workers eyesight by USING A VIRTUAL BOY AS AN INSTRUMENT OF DESTRUCTION!?

Of course, I believe you completely. Why, I once hooked my Sega Game Gear up to an ATM and stole millions of dollars which I used to start up this web site! Then I busted out my Gyromite N.E.S. cartridge, and beat several people senseless with it! Oh, and then I re-wired a 2600 joystick to control my neighbor's car and drove it into a ditch!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeez. Some people.

Hahaha... this letter is still disturbingly funny. At least, I hope he was joking... *gulp*

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