The New Tech: Button Mashing

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I haven’t shared the Elk’s Run #6 cover with you all yet. Script’s almost completed, probably going to be my favorite one behind #3 – you guys are going to love it.


God. Fucking. Damn it. I was all ready to post how us DC locals should pile in a car, drive to the ultra-swank new comic store R!ot, spend some money, give him some free books as a gesture of good will and how we should do this on the day Dean Haspiel and Brian Wood were going to be there. So I went to the website to get the info – November 12th. The day of our festival. Oh well, we’ll have to do it later in November (or early December). For those of you who won’t be coming to our festival, I suggest you go to R!ot – I got to meet both Jason (proprietor) and Dean (signer) at SPX – great guys – and I gave some Brian free books but didn’t really talk to him so I can’t vouch for his greatness. R!ot is a store in Pennsylvania that’s operating under the Isotope model of retailing which is great for us indie guys, obviously, but not as good for his anxiety. You gotta support this dude – so if you’re within driving distance get the fuck out there and buy some books. It’s guys like Jason (and James Sime and Rocketship , which I'll be visiting this weekend for the first time, and all of the other departures from the dark and damp big-2 wank-fests) that are going to make it possible for guys like us to keep creating. Least we can do is buy a copy of Skyscrapers of the Midwest (or the Elk’s Run Bumper Edition, perchance, if you feel so inclined) and a fucking t-shirt.

And, finally, before story time, the talented Jacob Warrenfeltz leant me Hellblazer: Hard Time, first Constantine book I’ve ever read and I have to tell you, it’s one fucking hell of a book. Constantine in prison, sort of a self-penance, and turning that place into hell on earth – it’s like a comic book version of Oz with a twist of the supernatural. I suggest picking it up.

Story time…

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From dildos to video game systems, this site is starting to read like 35-year-old comic book fan's version porn…

Here’s a random fucking memory that could be fabricated or part of a dream. When I was about three or four years old my father’s cousin Ray (the father of frequent poster RJ) came over to my house with a goddamn Intellivision and my father and him played the boxing game (and maybe football) and had a grand ‘ole time. RJ – did your father even own an Intellivision?

Fabricated memory or not, shortly thereafter my father purchased a Colecovision for the household – I know that’s true because I still have it (and it still works). The Colecovision was the beginning of what would become a more rebellious video gaming household – instead of bucking to the pressure and getting the “popular” Atari that bolstered hundreds of crappy games and bastardized popular properties – we went with the quality system with the smaller following but better gameplay. This tradition will continue for many a year.

The Colecovision became the centerpiece of our living room. My father loved the football game and Carnival – I was a fan of The Smurfs and Donkey Kong JR. We had plenty of games, though – Burger Time, Q-Bert, Centipede, Popeye, Zaxxon and all of the other classics. We even upgraded to the Super Controllers, they were these huge things that wrapped around your fists and looked like black, plastic boxing gloves when donned.

When it came time to trade-up I was faced with a choice: The Nintendo Entertainment System, the “hot” system, or the obviously superior Sega Master System (for fuck’s sake it even had the word “master” in its name). I bet you can guess which one I got.

Mario was fun and all but nothing compared to Wonder Boy, Alex Kidd, Space Harrier (the true original first-person shooter, if you ask me), Shinobi, Golden Axe, After Burner, Out Run and Phantasy Star. So I got the SMS and despite having a game library that was about one-tenth of the size of the NES I was satisfied. Once my friends finished beating Mike Tyson for the umpteenth time you can bet they were over at my place controlling Wonder Boy while he put the hurting on Medusa in the classic “Wonder Boy in Monster Land”.

The SMS had some really cool accessories that blew the NES shit out of the fucking water (I mean, come on, the Power Pad? The fucking Power Glove? And wasn’t there some robot?). The SMS had some dope 3D glasses and I got them along with Space Harrier 3D, Zaxxon 3D and Missile Defense 3D. That was bad-ass as a kid, it was all high-tech and shit. The light gun, obviously, and a really cool arcade stick.

One of the many home video tapes sitting around the Rodriguez Video Library is me sitting on the couch and holding my new-born sister. I was eleven at the time and I was addicted to Phantasy Star. I tell the camera that Elizabeth was “the best present I’ve ever gotten.” My mother asks me, “Even better than video games?” and I respond ‘yes’ but five seconds later look longingly to my SMS – you can tell I wanted to put Elizabeth down and play it. ‘Bits – I love you to death – but Phantasy Star was the tits!

I wanted a Gameboy for Christmas when it first came out. That Christmas morning I tore through all of my presents and there was no Gameboy. I tried not to show my disappointment as I played with my new He-Man figures. My father says, “What’s that over by the china closet (yeah, we had a china closet and no, there wasn’t any china in it – it had these Disney figurines and a brass elephant that we hid the cash in). I walk over, tear off the wrapping paper.

It was a clothing box. Thanks dad, real funny.

Open the clothing box – Gameboy fucking heaven. I flipped out, running around the apartment like Daffy Duck – kissing everybody and screaming like a pre-pubescent nancy-boy. We have this on video tape, too.

I got the Genesis, eventually. That was a little after the initial release since I still loved my SMS and the Genesis was expensive as fuck. But I eventually got it and played the standards like Sonic, Madden and Mutant League Football.

Believe it or not people who got the Playstation where bucking the trend, as well. At least in my neighborhood, everyone was waiting for the N64. Even the video store that I worked at did not stock Playstation games. I would beg my boss to gets some mainly so I could play them and he kept telling me he was holding out for the N64. This was the guy that got Sega CD games. SEGA CD! And he wouldn’t stock Playstation games.

But I loved the fuck out of my Playstation and if you ask me, N64 was one of the most overrated systems of all time. Sega’s inability to put up a good competitor (Saturn sucked) pretty much opened that market up for Playstation to take over.

Playstation lasted me throughout college until senior year. Robin and I purchased a Sega Dreamcast together. It was our first major purchase, I remember us talking about how it was a big step – a commitment – like we were adopting a kitten or something. But we pre-ordered it (Robin’s sister even asked her what we would do if we broke up), purchased a couple of games and I think it was because of that purchase that we are still together today, six and a half years later.

Ok, maybe not, but it’s fun to trivialize things sometimes.

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