Growing up in Sweden, I realised a great many things about a great many people, including myself. I learned that no matter how tough you think you are, people can always hurt your feelings. For example, although I carry Mark Wilson’s Amateur Magic Kit with me everywhere, including the small fuzzy balls, the trick rope, and the marked cards, no one ever wants to see me tie a rope in a knot and then slide the knot off and throw it in the air and catch it in my mouth. That hurts. Especially since it takes me a good fifteen minutes to “set up,” magically speaking, every morning, just in case I do run across someone who wants to see a trick. But what hurts most of all is the fact that nobody, but nobody, ever wants to see the video I made of me beating the classic Nintendo game from Konami, Rush’n Attack.
In grade school people used to make fun of me for the special container I would port my daily beverage in. You try keeping breast milk fresh until the afternoon! High school and college weren’t much better. And now that I’m a successful assistant executive layout supervisor for ads in the yellow pages, I can’t get a single person to watch my video. I know that people at work notice and appreciate my work, but I have always hoped that someone at the office other than Mrs. Applesby would notice my artistic side, which comes out in the fonts I use (one time I even used the font “Hobo!”) Or how about the (admittedly automated) drop shadows I add?
It is precisely this artistic side which comes out in the video of me playing this, the hardest of NES games, and winning. You know, I’ll bet some people will play Rush’n Attack hundreds of times without noticing the clever pun in the name. Also, some friends have commented negatively on the repeating background. I have set them straight, however, pointing out that the repeating Siberian mountain-scape, for example, is a metaphor for like, monotony. Sometimes you have to spell things out for people, you know?
At parties, I try to segue into Rush’n Attack-related conversations, with varying degrees of success. The most common segue keywords are “Russians,” “video games,” “Konami,” “war,” or any references at all to the Japanese. My transitions are seamless, and I always end with “Can you believe they sent him inside the enemy’s compound with nothing but a knife? A knife! That’s democracy for you!” But people just aren’t appreciative of high-brow wit. And without fail, when I mention that I actually have the video on my person (!) no one wants to watch it. In any case, let me describe it for you.
It starts off with real Cold War footage of FDR, Stalin, and Mao. Then I inserted a clip from Citizen Kane, you know, the stormy shot of Hearst Castle, but just for effect. Then while the armed commando is jumping out of the helicopter, one hears a voiceover of me describing my mission and what I’m about to do. Most of the rest is straightforward. However, during one tense scene where it seems that my invincible star would run out before I reached the boss where the three guys on flying motorcycles throw grenades at our hapless commando, I dubbed in “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees. I couldn’t help myself; I’m a born entertainer really. (I love to make people laugh too, for example, by exclaiming, “well, you sure smell like one,” winking, when they least expect it. But that’s another story.)
One time I was watching the video late at night and my doorbell rang. It was a pizza delivery boy with the wrong address. Naturally, I invited him in. “I’ll even pay for the pizza,” I offered. “JUST WATCH THE VIDEO!!!” He didn’t though. Am I surprised? Not really. He just didn’t have time, I suppose. While he stood there, I continually glanced nervously at the screen, because I was nearing the secret weapon, and though I have seen it a thousand times, and I know that I do manage to bring Peace at Last to the world, I always get anxious when it seems as though I won’t be able to detonate the secret weapon. (Between you and me, while Rush’n Attack is the hardest game ever created, the so-called “secret-weapon” at the end is frightfully easy to destroy.)
Other than the pizza-delivery debacle, my life really isn’t the wild rollercoaster it may seem. Sometimes, I wish I could just live in obscurity, like the blond-haired, blue-eyed masses. Maybe take an occasional trip to Venice, you know, that sort of thing. Instead, I must take my lot, and struggle as the artiste that I am. The agonising lows of being such are indeed an integral part of my lonely existence. But I do so wish that someone other than the random doorbell ringer in my life would take an interest in my video. After all, it is a really hard game, you know?