the resigned gamer, everything I hate about the thing I love the most

Strong Bad and 10,000 punches in the face

Posted by Sir Cucumber at 7:39 AM on Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I shared a house my senior year of college with a double degree cello & German major, a half-Chinese welfare state economist, the official “big man(whore) on campus,” and a preacher’s daughter whose two great loves were electoral politics and feces.

We didn’t all hang out that much.

But one thing that brought us together each week was the new
Strong Bad email.

Too many miles and too many Mondays later, too out of touch with them to talk and too out of touch with myself to care, I sometimes go back and check on the stockpiled Sbemails I’ve since missed. He’s almost reached another
hundredth anniversary, but it’s just not the same.

What does remain as it did in my memory is our boxing gloved hero’s NES namesake,
Tag Team Wrestling.

From the same inspirational developer that brought us Karnov and Burgertime, Tag Team employed an innovative new combat concept Wikipedia describes as a “real-time, menu-based action-reaction fighting module.”

Translated for an English speaking, non-pompous-fuckwad audience, this meant that, after walking up to your opponent and punching them in the face, the action froze, giving you three seconds to scroll through and select from an unintelligibly abbreviated and Japanese’d list of wrestling moves by frantically mashing the B button. Keep in mind that this was nearly a decade before the advent of HTML-based dropdown menus!

Inevitably the prospect of winning a successively taller trophy wasn’t enough to stave off the “menu-based” tedium of fighting the same two guys for the twentieth time, and you’d take things outside the ring in an attempt to speed things along with a more “fluid” and “informal” style of combat. This was where things got really memorable.

Anyone whose ever watched real wrestling knows that the opening salvo of any ringside battle is a race to grab the nearest available folding chair with which to brain the other guy. On this classical front Tag Team never disappoints.

After the chair has been poofed out of existence over someone’s head, the struggling titans dance back and forth for the next 18.4 seconds, trading more punches to the face. These are all for show though, because the only blow that matters is the last one landed. The trick, you see, is to leave your opponent stunned for the 20-second “ring-out” disqualification while you quietly slip back inside the ropes and taste the sweet tang of new trophy piece.

My housemates probably wouldn’t get it, but I think Strong Bad would approve.