#602 Setting the new high score in a video game

It’s a big deal.

When I was a little kid my friends and I took pictures of the TV screen after setting new high scores. It was so important to us we’d even mail the photos to video game magazines hoping they’d splash them across their pages as a late-breaking scoop.

Two eight-year-olds defeat Bowser in epic battle

No-holds-barred streetfight in turtle-dragon-thing’s lair features fire balls and flying hammers

Yes, if you’ve been there you know the road to setting a new high score is paved with lots of swearing, thrown controllers, and empty soda cans. Blurry eyes, all-day bedhead, and expanding pit stains are the mark of these basement-dwelling champions.

Now, while cracking top spot at home offers a big rush,┬áthere’s something to be said about the rare moment you actually pull it off in an arcade.

After all, you’ve probably dumped a few buckets of quarters into the machine just to get to M. Bison, so the payoff is your treat for spending weeks of allowance and candy money. Also, you get to put your initials into the machine which means you can you can go with your actual initials, the AAA default, or the filthiest three-letter-word you know. Just make sure nobody unplugs the machine and have a couple witnesses so you’ve got proof of being the ASS at Tony’s Pizza Slice who racked up 171,000 points on Ms. Pac Man.

Setting a new high score on a video game is moment of total euphoria. Your heart speeds up and your brain flies off as you realize you’re making it big. Yes, you turned tightly on Rainbow Road, nailed a Tetris when the screen was full, and hit all the right notes on Cowboys from Hell.

The blisters, eyestrain, and malnutrition was worth it, you think to yourself, as you survey your dark and seedy den of empty chip bags, greasy pizza boxes, and dirty socks. And as that slow smile curls across your face make sure you take a moment to nod at the TV screen and bask in your glowing moment of guts and glory.


Photos from: here and here

Illustration from: here

— Listen to my podcast 3 Books