Friday, April 22, 2011

My First Video Game Tournament or How I Buckle Under Peer Pressure

Vaila Grayson is my seventeen-year-old protagonist in the Paladin of Mariposa trilogy. She is a video game rock-star, complete with her own celebrity status.

Back in March 2008, Nintendo released its Super Smash Brothers Brawl for the Wii.
Game Stop, a video game store, sponsored a Smash Bros. tournament.
I thought it would be fun to revisit the day I channeled my inner Vaila during my first video game competition. Let me tell you that peer pressure is such an ugly color to wear.

Mega Man (my hubby, not the video game robot) and I had signed up in the official bracket, with competition to begin around 10:30 pm. As we entered the cramped store, we found ourselves surrounded by youngins (majority age range 14-18). While we were some of the oldest contestants, somehow, we fit right in. Much can be said for maturity. Or lack there of.

Each round was a 60 second knock down, drag out. Each contestant's character was randomized by the computer. Mega Man's main goal was to beat at least one person. My unrealistic goal, was to make the top 5.
Here is how it all fell apart. We were using a Wii controller and nunchuck. It was like they gave me chopsticks to eat with. And the end results would have been the same.
Mega Man was called first. He was selected to battle as Princess Peach (aww, how pretty). He got lucky. The other guy got Warrio, who is very hard to control, which led to him self destructing (SD) three times. So Mega Man attained his goal and moved onto the next round.

I was called awhile later. I was given Pikachu, a character I'm familiar with from the Game Cube series of Smash Brothers. However, I was not given time to review the Wii button controls and had to fend for myself. I had some lofty ambitions and since I was the only girl, and I felt more confident then perhaps I should have been permitted. Just because I was writing about a female video game champion, didn't mean I was one.

The other guy was Dr. Mario. The level we played on was flat. Easy enough, or so I thought. Then the middle of the field fell out. The good Dr. jumped to the other side of the screen in a safe zone. I was exactly in the same position on the other side. Then the crowd started to chant, "Jump, jump, jump...." Well I'm not one for getting a win like a pacifist coward. So I tried to jump the divide and was rewarded with my first SD. Then my second SD happened shortly afterward. Can't even remember what I did for that to happen. Hard to believe, but the other guy won.

I realize that in 60 seconds, anything can happen. I should have walked away a gracious loser. If you really knew me, you would be rolling on the floor laughing. I was polite, but under the surface, I was seething.

In Mega Man's second round, he squared off against MetaKnight from the Kirby series. He actually lost in a fair fight. We watched the rest of the tournament, admiring the awesome graphics and enjoying the re-emergence of MIA Nintendo players, like Pit from Kid Icarus.

The top four characters of the tournament were 2 MetaKnights, Pit, and of course my handsome Link. Note, all these guys have swords. Actual swords, get your mind out of the gutter.

Suffice it to say that I am no Vaila Grayson. But my experience made Vaila a stronger character. Don't they say, "Write what you know?" Since I know where my skills don't lie, its off for more research. Anyone interested in a good brawl?


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