You Think You're Getting Excited? Dick Vitale's Head Just Exploded
The screen to the right represents a low point in my childhood. You stole my sense of optimism, Atari!!
On to the second round! Despite one cry for Pole Position based on it being name-checked in 'Goonies' and a couple of impassioned pleas for Crystal Castles that I wasn't expecting, the opening brackets held.
So now that we've weeded out all the 'suckas' (with apologies to the fine Japanese men and women who designed 'Bump n' Jump), let's get bizz-ay, thoroughly and proper.
2ND ROUND, 'BUCKNER & GARCIA' BRACKET:
PAC MAN v. ZAXXON: As cool as Zaxxon looked, I could never figure out 'exactly' where my ship was at any given time and inevitably, I'd wind up getting killed by a laser that I was positive I would fly right over. The shadow of the plane sort of helped, but it was still frustrating. Winner: Pac Man
POPEYE v. STAR TREK: I know this is my fault for constructing the brackets wrong, but I personally don't think either of these games are 'top 16' material. I suppose if I have to choose, bitchin' Vector graphics win out over trying to collect 'hearts' from some skinny girl any day. Winner: Star Trek
CENTIPEDE v. TETRIS: I feel like I'll catch heat on this one no matter which way I go. A lot of people loved Centipede even though I always found it kind of boring. And you don't want to piss off the brainiac Tetris crowd or they'll, uh... they'll... Winner: Centipede
QIX v. NARC: As I mentioned in the first round, Qix is so unlike any other game that it's orginality alone makes it a formidable competitor. Then again, this is NARC, a game whose blood & guts style paved the way for games like Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto. Winner: NARC
SECOND ROUND, 'ENTER YOUR INITIALS' BRACKET:
DIG DUG v. PUNCH OUT: The best part about Dig Dug is probably its music. The total repetitiveness combined with it getting faster as each round goes on adds to the stress factor of playing. Punch Out is amusing, but can't compete on this level. Winner: Dig Dug
BERZERK v. MOON PATROL: Even though it meant scuttling my beloved Burgertime, I was happy to see Berzerk make it on to the second round. It just doesn't have quite enough to tangle with Moon Patrol, however. Moon Patrol is just easy enough to let you play for awhile and then gets seriously difficult enough to be a challenge. Winner: Moon Patrol
JOURNEY v. Q-BERT: There's a lot to admire about the design of Q-Bert. A completely unique character in a totally new game, the noise that the machine would make when you fell off that made it sound like he had hit the actual bottom of the game. Good stuff, but the idea of a semi-shitty rock band flying a Scarab Beetle across the stars to fight aliens with their rock? Pure gold. Winner: Journey
ELEVATOR ACTION v. TAPPER: I hate having to choose between these two. Elevator Action is a great, great game, but Tapper's got beer in it. Wait a minute, this isn't such a hard choice after all. Winner: Tapper
SECOND ROUND, 'BILLY MITCHELL WAS A GOD IN JAPAN' BRACKET:
GALAGA v. SPY HUNTER: As the lone driving game left, Spy Hunter's got quite a burden, but let's face it, it's going to be pretty difficult to knock off a game that's still being played in every college cafeteria in the country. Winner: Galaga
JOUST v. TEMPEST: Joust may fall into the 'Track & Field' category of games for spastics who like to drink 10 diet cokes and press buttons as fast as possible. That said, however, it is a good game with good sound. Unfortunately it's going against a GREAT game with GREAT sound. Winner: Tempest
MARIO BROS. v. TRON: As much as every pot-head I knew loved Mario Brothers (Check it out man, when he eats the mushroom he gets BIG.), I never could stand it. Why do I want to knock turtles on their back and kick them again? Rescuing a lady I can wrap my head around, but plumbers abusing animals? Why? Winner: Tron
ROBOTRON v. MS. PAC MAN: Another second round nightmare matchup. Two indisputable classics. There's probably more Ms. Pac Man machines still in existence in bars around the country than any other video game, but freaking Robotron! That game just kicks ass. Winner: Robotron
SECOND ROUND, 'SUPERZAPPER RECHARGE' BRACKET:
STAR WARS v. BATTLE ZONE: Time for an all Vector graphics battle. As much fun as it was to play tank and look through that binocular viewfinder thing that had the sweat and acne of a thousand other geeks all over it, who would choose that over getting to be Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star? Winner: Star Wars
DEFENDER v. FROGGER: I have to admit that I always sucked at Defender. I could never get the controls down. It just seemed to have too many goddamn buttons. But I know this wasn't a problem for everyone because as we've covered already, every arcade had a dude who freaking killed at Defender and could play it until his bowels gave out. But as much as I'd love to give this to Frogger, I gotta raise a toast to the dateless wonders who conquered what I couldn't. Winner: Defender
GORF v. MORTAL KOMBAT: Another example of a game I just never figured out was Mortal Kombat. All the secret moves, joystick combinations and shit just pissed me off. So you get to kick my ass because you subscribe to 'Game Cheat' monthly or some shit? Creating a seperate geek heirarchy based on who knew the most secret moves was unneccesary. Still, even if I couldn't play it to save my life, it was fun watching someone else spray blood all over. Winner: Mortal Kombat
DONKEY KONG v. CRAZY CLIMBER: Well it wouldn't be a NCAA tourney without an upset or two, and here's one. Yeah, I know Donkey Kong's on a pedestal and untouchable and influenced this and that and yadda yadda, but Crazy Climber's just a whole hell of a lot more fun. The independent control of each arm make playing this game like operating a human forklift and the fact that it's never explained just why he's climbing the building in the first place make this an early exit for Mario. Winner: Crazy Climber
That's it for now. Sweet sixteen coming up. Pour gasoline all over yourself and threaten to light a match in the comments.