17 April 2010
Not only do I write for this blog, but I read it too. Yes, it's true. I'm always interested in reading what others have to say about their memorable moments in video games and how they compare to my thoughts. Recently I had the pleasure of reading an essay from a buddy of mine, Victor Alvarez. I'm sure you have heard of him and quite possibly even read his work. He's quite good and has a way with words. So I woke up before work the other morning and pulled up the blog he had just written. In little time did I realize that I was the primary focus. I was shocked. In no way did I think I would be waking up to the kind words from Victor expressing his feelings towards myself and my new fiancé. I was flattered. I quickly called my girl and told her to read the blog that morning because it was about us. It really made both of our days. It also reminded me what a lucky guy I am. I have a beautiful fiancé, a daughter who is the light of my life, a loving family and great friends. What more could a guy ask for? Right after that a funny thing happened. I began to think about my life growing up. There was a time where I could never have imagined having a girlfriend, a family of my own or even talk to a girl.
You see, growing up I was the trademark overweight kid that use to get teased all the time in school. I hated school. Kids were mean, and they still are if you're not what they consider cool or popular. I was a geek. We're talking from way back to third grade until early high school. I was a chubby, quiet, glasses-wearing geek who played video games. Not only did I play video games but I loved comics, Dungeon & Dragons and anything else that you could think of that would put me on the other side of the spectrum as far as girls were concerned. I would come home from school and do my homework - I was a good student - and then I would play my video games. I had many different systems as generations changed ranging from Atari, Commodore 64, the NES and onward. Probably one of the most highly played games for myself was Pro Wrestling on the NES. Oh, I didn't tell you, I loved professional wrestling. I could never get enough of it. The problem with that was that there was never really any good games (if at all) that captured the body slamming love I had for wrestling. I don't know why I love wrestling so much but I did. A fat kid watching all these big muscular guys beating on each other and wishing I looked like any of them. Of course, one of my idols was the immortal Hulk Hogan. He was everything. I said my prayers, took my vitamins and each day I still woke up as the fat kid that people picked on. But I had my video games and that made me happy.
When I bought my NES, besides Super Mario Brothers, I ran out and bought Pro Wrestling. It was amazing. It was so life-like. There were only about five wrestlers you could choose from but each of them were unique and that was so huge for me. Each wrestler had a finishing move just like the gladiators I watched in the ring and I would make my way up the rankings for a shot for the championship belt. Man, did I play that game a lot. It even had a referee. That was unheard of for any wrestling game. The graphics were superb and it even came equipped with all of the pro wrestling rules and regulations. I do remember one of my favorite wrestlers was Starman.
Starman was the equivalent to one of today's high flying superstars. He could soar off the top rope, fly across the ring and was lightning fast. He was the man who was going to make me a champion. I remember playing for hours on end until I finally defeated King Slender for the VWA Championship of the World. What an accomplishment. I did it! But it wasn't even close to over. The game was so great that it allowed me to defend my title. I took on all takers. I was a people's champion; no one would be refused. So as I battled opponent after opponent I retained my title. I was a true champion until it happened; I had to wrestle The Great Puma. The Great Puma was the champion of the Video Wrestling Federation. This was the real deal and I wasn't about to disappoint my fans. If you have never picked up Pro Wrestling on the NES - and I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't -the Great Puma is one of the toughest bosses in quite possibly the history of NES games. I'm not kidding you. He was awful, mean and nasty. I'll be honest, I couldn't beat him straight up. I had to go for the count out. I know it's not the way of a true champion but it's the only way I could beat him; and I did it. I took him outside the ring and I pounded on him. I pounded on him just enough that he was down and then I quickly rolled back into the ring before the 10 count and got the cheap victory. Ok, for anyone who knows professional wrestling you can't win the title on a count out, but hey, it's the NES.
The bottom line is that I loved that game and that's all that mattered to me. Looking back, at that time and long after I never dreamed I would find a girl who would ever be interested in me. Why would they? I was the walking definition of any geek in any 80s movie trying to build their own girl because they couldn't get one. It looked like it was me and my video games forever, but you know what? Things change. Boy, do they change. Everything I thought was going to be reality couldn't have been farther from the truth. I found one of the most beautiful girls ever and she loves me. I questioned her thought process on this but she said she was serious so who was I to argue. I'm 6'4" tall, about 250lbs and ironically no one picks on me anymore. Maybe saying my prayers and taking my vitamins paid off? Either way, I'm one of the happiest guys in the world. I'm still a geek and that will never change but it's funny to look back on how things were and how they are today. So did I really need Victor to write a blog about me to remind me how lucky of a guy I was? No, not even close. But it did give me a great excuse to write about a game that I loved growing up and a girl who I love even more.
By Stephen O'Blenis