Suggested Audio 1-Up:
I remember with great lucidity; it was around the late eighties and I was proud owner of a Sega Megadrive and the old NES, two gaming console behemoths with the ability to transport you to all manner of idyllic locales at the insertion of a cartridge. Sure there was potential for certain environmental hazards and a few undesirables to fight off along the way but the reward for doing so safely was riches beyond any child’s wildest dreams. Bragging rights. Super Mario Brothers? Yeah I clocked that in an hour or, in my case, multiply by at least five not including infinite retries.
I made a grave error; told one such-like mistruth, shaved off a few hours and lapped up the hero status it afforded me. Mario, gormless little prick, it had to be that plumpened plumber who first caught wind of my insolence. I awoke feeling a little as though a large plastic slate had been rectally introduced to my personage. Alone, this discomforting sensation was one thing; however when my eyes re-acclimatised to their surroundings, I felt grave trepidation washing over me. “It’s a me!” was the audio which accompanied my reawakening. This douche seemed to be mocking me into some kind of time-trial head-to-head and the allure of pounding the shit out of his chubby cheeks was too tantalizing to decline his taunted invitation.
What did I really stand to lose by taking a symmetrical path alongside this blue dungaree donning numskull? What kind of shit-for-brains actually wears his plumber’s mate glad rags when not even on the job anyhoots? He’s simply asking for a pummeling if you ask me. I accepted his challenge and instantly went under starters orders, focused but not altogether prepared for the somewhat thorny assault course set out before me. It was admittedly a clear, fine day with only a smattering of clouds punctuating the ocean blue sky but that was the only encouraging news.
All I could see before me was a tapestry of torment and peril; rising and lowering banks of earth fortified with illogically spaced brickwork and some mean looking hybrid creatures. They wore protective shells which instantly got my mind clock a ticking. Maybe I could gently rest on these shells and use them to propel me forth into previously unscalable new heights. “Wahaa!” was the loutish taunt of my opposite number and I had to set aside, at least momentarily, my adoration of fine Italian cuisine and beat this blighter to the castle.
Confidently and briskly, I strode forward, lurching towards the first of many ridiculously aimless and benign-looking duck-toises. I ran straight towards him with chest puffed out and nostrils flared enough to snort chestnuts. I ran headlong into him expecting my affectionate welcome to be reciprocated and, instead and in a blinding beam of light, became woefully tiny. Suddenly, this cute creature had become more intimidating than a crate of cranky crabs and he now stood with beak acting as a canopy of sorts above my head. My reactions were required to be lightning-fast and fortunately on this day I’d opted for that second serving of Honey Nut Loops.
I retreated momentarily as I needed sufficient run-up to clear his shell in one lofty bound. As I turned, bolted and leapt like an electrified salmon; my head instantly made contact with a hard surface above. Fuck a plucked duck named Chuck, that really smarted. Stunned, concussed and more than a tad disoriented, I blundered forth at which point a gargantuan mushroom plummeted into my path from the edge of the still intact brickwork. Keeper ordinarily despises these sweaty vegetables but this one was admittedly of the fresher variety and, besides, I had no time to dodge as it was soon on me like a priest in a Vatican. Expecting to be consumed by its moldiness I was surprised with the happy accident that followed next.
I returned to my former glory and, for a split-second, rode forward like a man on a mission. Sensing an open chasm ahead, I jumped once more with new found belief towards the gaping fissure, deducing the angle required to vault it, use the earthy platform to propel myself forth and ultimately make the safe haven beyond where a flag pole was beginning to look well within my grasp. What I hadn’t banked on was that the platform was mobile and, as I readied my boots for brief landing, it scrolled off behind me to the left leaving me hanging tantalizingly above a sheer drop.
My whole life flashed before my eyes in that moment, I recalled a lifetime of happy memories as I prepared to meet my maker. With one last hopeful glance I focused to my left and witnessed the grease-ball plumber chortling as he clambered up his flag pole to victory while I trod air like Wile E Coyote. I swear he even stopped halfway up to give me a cheeky wink and that’s just bad form in my books.
At the top of the flagpole was a busty princess, voluptuous 8-bit curves, long lustrous locks and peachy lips puckered for a potential night of passion. My smile faded as I began my descent down the cliff side, hitting every rock on the way down and into plummeting into the black hole. Meanwhile, my opponent bagged the princess while his brother watched on, monkey wrench in hand. Such a cruel demise, I had been so agonizingly close but there were to be no continues here. I had been soundly beaten, it was as simple as that.
Suddenly I was jolted forth from my nightmarish 8-bit dreamscape and back into the confines of my sleeping quarters. I had learned a valuable lesson from this shady debacle. Video games are bad for one’s health. Granted, I have frittered away countless afternoons grasping my Pong paddle excitedly but I now understand exactly why they carry a health warning. Fuck Mario and, while I think of it, fuck Luigi too. Most of all, fuck Princess Peach. She’s nothing but a skank if you ask me, mincing around in her pink ball gown, fluttering those false eyelashes. If she hadn’t been such a filthy bag of felch in the first place then none of this would’ve happened but Bowser’s battering ram was just too tempting a proposition to resist. I sincerely hope you contract an STD; not gonorrhea or anything treatable like that. We’re talking advanced herpes, that shit stays with you like airport luggage. Happy scratching bitch.
Keeper of the Crimson Quill