“Here is an idea: have an Avatar from a video game come to life and you spend the day with him/her”
Finally, an entire Saturday all to myself.
Already did my laundry and worked out a little bit, the fridge is fully stocked and I’ve got no obligations for the next 24 hours. The weather’s even a little bit crappy out! If there was any remaining doubt it is now gone; I am justified.
Time to strap in for a video game marathon. Dis gon’ be goooood!
It took me a little bit of searching, but I finally found and dusted off my old first generation Playstation…and holy shit, it still works!!
Ohhhh mama, where should I start?! Maybe a fighting game to get going…then when I get tired of that I can switch to something more relaxed like FFVII. It’s gaming done right. Let’s see…
My afternoon had begun…but little did I know that my greatest (or at least, my most insane) adventure was just hours ahead of me. I resolved to beat the MK Trilogy on Easy difficulty once with each character; this should take somewhere in the neighborhood of two hours. The first hour flew.
“Shao Kahn, get the FUCK out of my house with that shit! That’s right, walk right into my uppercut you idiot! Maybe next time I’ll play you on Medium so that I actually have to use two hands! What’s that? You want another uppercut? Well come get one! TOOOASTYYYYY!!!”
I was really getting into it.
“Man, this is awesome. Alright let’s see, that’s Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Raiden, Baraka, Liu Kang, Reptile, Kung Lao…Ugh, I guess I’ll have to use Johnny ‘I’m an asshole’ Cage sooner or later. Alright, let’s do this…”
As I selected my least favorite kombatant I grew bored of the load screen, and I’m not quite sure how to explain what happened next. Maybe something from the section of my old school video game subconscious kicked into gear. Maybe deep down I was testing reality itself, challenging it, daring it to wow me. Maybe I was just bored.
I knew that it wouldn’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t do anything, but my hands diddled that ancient video game secret right into the Playstation controller anyway. And what happened next changed history.
Up, Up my eyes widened
Down, Down my toes tapped
Left, Right, Left, Right I adjusted my pants
B, A, B, A* sweat dripped from my brow
Select,Start!!! OW!! I accidentally bit my tongue!
“Ahhh, FUCK!” I yelled, tossing the controller onto the couch next to me to hold my face.
“Hey bro. Watch where you’re throwing stuff.”
Johnny Cage was sitting next to me on my couch chugging my beer. My controller had hit him in the lap.
“Relax bro, buurrrrp! You summoned me here to Earthrealm with the Contra code – pretty sweet right? We get to spend an entire day together now! You got any Bud heavies?”
“Yeah. Well? I’m thirsty bro. They don’t have beer in Outworld.”
I rolled with it.
“Of…course not. I don’t have any of that shit! Bud heavy is disgusting.”
“What did you just say? You insult my favorite beer bro?”
“Dude, it’s gross.” I stood up over him. I knew from playing the MK games that Johnny Cage could be sort of an asshole. True, he may be Johnny Cage but this was my house. If I didn’t assert myself right off the bat there was a great chance I’d end up carting his ass to the store to purchase disgusting Budweiser for him. Man, why couldn’t I have summoned Kitana instead?
“Is that so?” he said, standing up as well. Yikes. In the game he was one of the less intimidating characters but standing in front of me in my living room it was a different story. He was easily a foot taller and 50 pounds of solid muscle heavier than me. A handgun was holstered at his hip. I flinched.
He saw it.
“How about we take a trip to the liquor store before I shadow kick your ass through the wall?”
“Okay, but can you at least leave the gun so we don’t get arrested? What are you even doing with that – you don’t even get a gun until MK X.”
“I’m the essence of all things Johnny Cage, broseph. All his mannerisms, all his outfits, all his moves…and all his fatalities. Wanna see one?”
The car ride to the liquor store was mostly quiet. Even though I’d just made history and was driving around with a video game avatar come alive in the real world, I couldn’t help but feel a little frustrated. Of all the characters out there, why’d I have to get Johnny Cage? Why not Scorpion – well, he’d probably just kill me on sight – but why not Mega Man or Sonic the Hedgehog? Rictor Belmont the vampire slayer or Alucard, son of Dracula? Bayonetta? Samus? Freaking anyone but Johnny Cage!
He shifted in his seat and farted, breaking the silence in the worst possible way.
“Beeeef. Dude – seriously?”
“You know it brosama!”
Even though I offered to jump into the packy and grab a 30 of Bud myself, Johnny refused to wait in the car. “I don’t want you pussing out on me” he said. Charming.
I slammed the 30 rack onto the counter and reached for my wallet.
Johnny Cage was a video game character. He wouldn’t have been coded to have a wallet, much less a license.
“Nah, I don’t need one bro.”
“Johnny, cool it. Let’s just go somewhere else and you can wait in the car.”
“No fuckin’ way. We’re getting these beers and we’re getting them now.” His voice was rising. “And what are you gonna do about it, guy??” He jabbed a finger at the man behind the counter, then backed up a step and crossed his arms over his chest like the defiant, cocky douchebag that he was coded to be. He smirked.
“Get out of here right now!” the man had his phone in his hand. “Or I call the cops!”
“Johnny, for the love of Christ can we please just-”
“Make us, fat man!” God, he was such a fucking child.
That must have hit a nerve, because the clerk slid over the counter with surprising agility, (he was a little hefty), but not before he reached behind the counter and produced a wooden Louisville Slugger. Johnny just stood there with his arms crossed, arrogant smirk and all.
The man ran in, winding up to take a swing; Johnny held his pose for the last possible second, and then
The bat dropped to the floor with a clunk as the man bent low, cradling his blasted balls. “YYYyyyooooouuuu sonofa-” he began, his voice barely more than a pathetic whimper, but then he crumpled face first to the floor and writhed. Johnny was already back on his feet after performing his nut-punch-split. It was his favorite move. Figures.
“C’mon bro.” He hoisted the 30 rack of Bud heavy up onto his shoulder like a frat boy, stepping around the shopkeeper who was still embracing his crotch with both hands. “Let’s…split.”
“You are such an ass.”
The second we got back to my apartment we began drinking Bud heavies ferociously. Me to try and alleviate the constant stress that accompanied accompanying Johnny Cage anywhere, and Johnny Cage because they didn’t have beer on Outworld and also because he was an uncultured swine. We didn’t talk much; I had nothing to say to the man. I knew his backstory from the games and truthfully it wasn’t that impressive. He was a movie star/stunt double who knew how to fight. I’d have been more interested in literally any other character from Mortal Kombat. In real life he was just as abrasive as his character was in the game, if not more so.
“So uh, when do you like, have to go back to Outworld?”
“I get to spend a whole day here bro, unless I get a Game Over. But let’s be real, that ain’t gonna happen! Beer me!”
Just then, an idea sliced its way right through my brain like a plasma sword. Oh. My. Christ. It was beautiful, poetic even. It was perfect.
“Sure thing Johnny.”
I just needed to distract him for five minutes, maybe less. He was a tool but not a complete idiot; if he saw what I was up to he’d probably hand me a shadow uppercut. I would need backup.
“Hey bro!” I yelled. I would get on his good side. “Hey man, you want me to call some friends over? We could throw a party!”
“What, they wanna meet the legend? Sure! You know any bitches?”
He was repulsive.
I picked up the phone and got to work; I didn’t even have to embellish. “Yes, the Johnny Cage. The video game character. Yes!! No I’m not insane. No! Yes. I – I don’t fucking know how, ask him!! Well to be honest he’s exactly the same as he is in the video ga-”
—“You mean fuckin’ awesome?!”
“That’s exactly what I was about to say, Johnny.”
Within an hour my apartment was brimming with friends and acquaintances. The cocky son of a bitch was reveling in it all, rocking the beer pong table and handing out autographs left and right.
There were lots of questions about how he ended up here in Earthrealm but he mostly just brushed them off. “Ask the Outworlders man, they made the rules. Yo, who’s up next?!”
After the initial amazement wore off it didn’t take long for tensions to mount and for everyone to basically realize that they were drinking with a manchild. I went into the kitchen just for a second and heard yelling, followed by another crash. Ugh, what was that stupid son of a bitch up to now.
Then I heard some squealing.
I came storming out of the kitchen to find one of my closest friends crouched over on the ground, clutching his crotch.
“Johnny you asshole! You can’t just punch people in the dick anytime you feel like it! This is Earthrealm, there are rules here!”
“Sure I can bro.” He was still maintaining his signature split on the floor, having just punched my friend in the penis. “I’m Johnny Cage” he grinned. “What are you gonna do, call the police?”
I didn’t know it until about 20 minutes later, but someone already had. By that point everyone had cleared out and it was just me and Cage; he was shotgunning a Budweiser in my kitchen, spilling everywhere when the doorbell rang. I went to get it and Johnny followed me down the steps. “Want me to fireball his ass?”
“Dude, you’ll get shot.”
I opened the door slowly.
“What seems to be the problem officer?” I recited. This was not part of my plan.
“I’ve received a noise complaint and also a report of assault; apparently one of your guests was punched in the uhm…crotch…by a man…”
“Get lost guy, we were just having a good time.”
I stammered “Uhhhh” as the officer pushed the door open a bit wider. He got a clear view of Johnny Cage and his eyes widened, recognizing the person who so perfectly fit the description in his report.
“Sir, I’m gonna need you to step outside.”
“I told you man, beat it. Unless you want an uppercut.”
“That’s assault sir. Outside. Now.” The officer took a step back, his hand on his gun.
I backed away quietly. This was not part of the plan.
“You want me to come outside? Here I come.”
A green blur buzzed by me as Johnny Cage shadow kicked the police officer in the chest, sending him flying. He sauntered outside and cracked his knuckles. “Finally! Believe it or not I was actually gettin’ tired of punchin’ junk!”
The officer drew, but Johnny lobbed one of his stupid green fireballs at him, knocking the gun from his hands. Then he closed the distance with another shadow kick and commenced an epic beat down. This was getting ugly. I ran inside, the ugly sounds of the fantastical fist fight on my front lawn following me up the stairs.
If the cop was any good, I’d have maybe three minutes tops.
I ran to the Playstation, frantic. Where was it where was it, it had to be here somewh – YES!
I ripped MK Trilogy out of the Playstation and threw my new game in. C’mon, load, load you bastard. I looked out the window; the poor cop was on his last legs.
Bruised and bloodied, he stood there in a daze, knees weak and arms flailing. He was just a normal man; simply no match for the superhuman video game avatar, the very essence of the shittiest Mortal Kombat kombatant, Johnny fucking Cage.
Johnny wound up and I knew what was coming.
“HEEEEERRRRREEEE’S JOHNNY!!” He yelled.
Oh God he’s a murderer and an asshole, please load please load please load – finally!!
I booted up Tekken 3 and finger-sprinted through the menus. Campaign mode, 1 player – ah! Character select!
I heard Johnny’s dumb footsteps coming up the stairs slowly; he was in no rush. “Hey where’d you go bro?! Did you see my sweet fatality out there? Talk about ripping a new one!!”
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A, Select, START!
“Yabu yabu yabu yabu yabu!!”
Yoshimitsu came spinning into being like a tornado of awesomeness, his green energy sword humming and sparkling.
“Yoshimitsu! Cut that guy in half!”
He didn’t need to be told twice. Maybe there was some sort of ancient rivalry between Tekken and Mortal Kombat characters that I didn’t know about. Maybe Yoshimitsu had literally just met Johnny Cage for the first time and already hated him. It could be that he was honor-bound to follow my commands without question; I’ll never know. Whatever the case Yoshimitsu wasted no time.
Johnny Cage saw Yoshimitsu winding up with his sword for his super thrust, and he held block. I grinned. Yoshimitsu was my favorite; I knew this move was unblockable.
Sure enough the plasma sword dove right through the block and through Johnny as well. There was no blood. He looked up and yelled “Game ooooooverrrrrr….” and then just sort of disintegrated into bits which reverted into code and then disappeared, like Agent Smith getting blown apart at the end of the first Matrix (spoiler!)
Yoshimitsu spun his sword in a celebratory figure eight pattern in front of him, cutting chunks out of my walls in the process. I was so elated I didn’t even care.
“Yoshimitsu, oh my god, thank you! That guy was such a fucking tool, you have no idea.”
The cyborg space pirate samurai bowed low; I returned the bow. Then he sat down and began meditating.
“Sweet. Now let’s play something safe, like Dead Island.”
*Author’s Note: I substituted X and O, as PS controllers have neither A nor B
That’s all for now folks, but you know the drill – give me another weekly writing assignment by Commenting on this post!