Before the Internet, the Game Genie stood tall as the drug of choice for all gamers seeking a little bit of performance enhancement. I myself dabbled with both the Genie and, later, the Shark. I know now that all of my past successes meant nothing because of those things, and I have vowed to be clean from here on out.
Because of this, in a way, I'm playing Mike Tyson's Punch-Out for the first time.
Never mind "true victory" -- this is a story of redemption. Redemption for me and Lil Mac Swayze, and all I want to do is knock Glass Joe the Communist on his ass so I can claim one real win in this somewhat embarrassing collection of experiences.
Via Rolling Stone
Yes, that Glass Joe. Shut up.
Unfortunately, it takes me five losses to get to a point where I feel like that might happen, and even then the odds seem slim.
Through two rounds, we trade hard shots to the jaw and the body. Joe the Communist is frazzled and Lil Mac Swayze has turned a shade of magenta. The knockdowns have been piling up, and at the bell their eyes are swollen shut (I'm taking some artistic license here) and desperately in need of the merciful scalpel. When the bell rings, though, I'm almost sure that Lil Mac Swayze lets out a "Pain don't hurt."
I badly want to give Joe the sweet reward of death, retirement, or whatever that he's been waiting for, but I don't know that I can. Before I try, though, I look to the crowd and see peach tones and dots symbolizing eyes and mouths. Those mouths are chanting, "Little Mac, Boom-Ba-Yay!" I swear it. I am charged with righteous purpose and God-like power. Thunder is waiting for my command, lightning has its back, and so I tap tap tap the D-pad to advance, and I send Glass Joe to the mat.
I have so many conflicting emotions about this victory.
He won't get up. The crowd won't sit down.
There is another fight after this, with Von Kaiser, a Germanic beast with tight brown pants and both a mustache and a camel toe that give purpose to the life of the word "prodigious."
"Your punch is soft, just like your heart," says Von Kaiser, a man broken by his past who doubtlessly can't see our human bond and the capable softness of all our hearts. He wins, but I'm not sure that I lost.
When it comes to present-day games, I mostly just amble around in the hyper-realistic and vast open-world atmospheres of Grand Theft Auto and Fallout. It's amazing, but after a while, you start to get tired of coming up with new adventures and pretending to be something that you're not.
And some things that you are.
The term "hyper-realistic" doesn't really apply to something like Battletoads, and the story follows a linear path, save for the occasional pop-up wall. You can't go back in that game, and you can't move forward unless you conquer the challenge that is in front of you. It's incredibly annoying, but when you think about it, it kinda sounds like a great way to limp through life. Maybe, from here on out, I'll just play the game until I run out of lives and not worry so much about what level I make it to.
For more ridiculously hard games, check out The 6 Most Absurdly Difficult Video Game Puzzles. And then check out If Video Games Were Realistic.