Classical Geek Theatre: Revisited Game Sparks Madness, Consumes Summer

For most students, Ball State University is a thriving community of diversity (snicker). Well-trained faculty, attractive young people, and clod-hoppers who ride crotch-rockets all populate it.

Then, of course, there are those of us who have spent the summer in Muncie. To us, Ball State University is also a desolate wasteland populated only by middle school swim camps, orientation goonies, and a couple of Mormon guys. In summer time, there is not much to do in Muncie.

Toward the end of summer, "The Madness" consumed me.

My re-introduction to Muncie did not go smoothly. After summer school, I spent two weeks in Indianapolis before moving into my apartment. (Which is cleverly named "The Mouse Pad".)

Upon my arrival I had to deal with a broken-down car, no air conditioning (and one fan), no telephone service, no television (due to lack of cable or rabbit ears), no Internet connection, no housemate and very little food. This, of course, was all part of the plan of The Madness.

After several days, things started to improve. The phone was turned on, my housemate arrived, my car was fixed and we began to acquire groceries. With a car, I was able to retrieve more material possessions from home, including my 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System.

Oh, my love.

With cable television and Internet access still one week away, I hooked her up and turned her on.

"Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing Bing Bing. Doo doo doo, dododo doo doo dobeedobee doo bee do do doo."

"Punch Out."

My soul itched.

The game needs no introduction. It is as synonymous to a 20-something's childhood as Transformers, Punky Brewster and Boglins.

Of course, I pressed start. The Madness sensually massaged me. The video-boxing began.

The next few days were a blur. Infantile scrubs like Glass Joe and King Hippo hit the mat early and often, while lightweights such as Great Tiger and Soda Popinski barely forced me to concentrate. Bald Bull, The Great Satan of 8-bit games, rolled over like a playful kitten.

But The Madness had tricks up its sleeve. Oh, yes, The Madness has tricks.

Super Macho Man, that scoundrel.

After the first day of The Madness, every game of Punch Out was the same. I would blow past character, more often than not, in one round. But when I got to Super Macho Man, I just couldn't beat him. It is neigh-impossible, I say. Nay, it is impossible.

I became obsessed with defeating Super Macho Man, hence defeating The Madness. I quit eating. I quit sleeping. I called the two Mormon guys and asked for help. At this point, I was in the firm, pitiless grasp of The Madness. I was its hostage. Of course, you know, the game cheats. Super Macho Man's second spinning punch is unstoppable. The Madness helps it cheat.

It isn't fair. Curse you Madness, curse you and your cheating minions. You mock me because Little Mac can't get up off the mat. You mock me with your MIDI sounding laugh and your pixilated, jiggling man-breasts. I hate you, Madness. I truly hate you. And I will never join your Nintendo Fun Club.


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