One interesting thing about being stuck here is the fact that my social group is now pretty much limited to my co-workers. I'll certainly be visiting with my SoCal friends soon, but I'm expecting 60-70 hour work weeks, and then I'll return to the hotel suite where me and my fellow professionals are staying. So of course I'm interacting solely with gamers at this point.

This leads to activities which only a group of gamers stuck in a Homestead Suites would resort to, so as watching The Last Starfighter (the finest CGI 1984 had to offer) and making a noticeable dent in the booze collection I hauled down with me. Now that Alex kid in the film was hard. core. Granted, that Starfighter game was the only thing going in their trailer park. I mean, did you see how everybody and their grandma came running when he finally finished the game? That was because they didn't even have the NES in 1984. But at least they gave Alex the appreciation and respect he deserved for being able to defeat the entire Kodan armada on one quarter. And for his efforts, he received the honor of being shot at by aliens in a distant galaxy while a robot made time with his girlfriend. What a cool dude!

In my quest to be as colossal a bad-ass as Alex, I've recently embarked upon a journey of personal growth and self-discovery. I've been validating my hardcore-ness by taking self-inflicted retro-gaming challenges, finishing all those games I never got a chance to back in the day. So far I've managed to finish the original Contra without continuing, plough all the way through the original Rygar in a single sitting, finish The Legend of Zelda's second quest, and make it 2/3 of the way through Mike Tyson's Punch Out! without so much as glancing at a walkthrough. I've got my Genesis with me here at the hotel, and I'm hoping that before I ship back home, I'll have finished Contra: Hard Corps and Sonic 3. I know it's a daunting task, but what can I say? I'm a baller. If I were a 10-year old in 1987, rest assured that the fact that I can get through Contra without continuing would earn me mad playground props.

Kids these days (Yes, I realize that once you use the phrase "Kids these days" in a non-ironic manner, you are officially an old fogey) really don't have appreciation for how difficult games once were. These days you have crap like Memory Cards (8MB) for PS2, and some PC games let you save wherever you want. Wherever you want! Back in the day we fell down on our knees and thanked the lord if our NES cartridge had battery backup. For most games in those times, "saving your game" meant leaving it on pause overnight! We didn't have GameFAQS, we had to actually talk to other kids at school and learn that you had to punch Bald Bull in the bellybutton. Rapscallions these days don't know how easy they've got it!

Okay, my dentures are becoming dislodged. I sound liek frickin' Cranky Kong. Time to take another crack at that consarn Red Falcon.

(P.S. OMG!!! I've discovered that if I leave the bathroom door open while I take a leak, I can watch the television in the mirror while I'm draingi the lizard! This kicks so much ass!!!11)


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