Our hearts rejoiced this week when Steve Wiebe once again achieved the world high score for Donkey Kong. The tale of the epic rivalry between Wiebe and the former high score holder, Billy Mitchell, is chronicled in the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.
I don’t want to cover the entire story; the documentary is well done and worth watching, but the overall idea is that Wiebe is the classic underdog figure and Mitchell is an arrogant hot sauce making archfiend with rat-like features.
Well rested and ready to peddle pestilence to all!
Wiebe purchases a Donkey Kong arcade machine and attempts to beat Mitchell’s high score of 874,300, which he has held since the 1980s. He succeeds, and submits a tape to Twin Galaxies, an organization which keeps track of high scores in arcade games. Ultimately, Mitchell argues that the only valid scores are ones achieved in public. This is a policy Ratface himself disregards by submitting low quality video tapes of his own scores.
The long and short of it is that Wiebe wins and loses graciously multiple times throughout the film with no more than a few quiet tears of disappointment shed while Mitchell refuses to acknowledge his friendly challenges, and at one point even meets Wiebe and refuses to make eye contact with him. Even when Wiebe does beat his high score in public, Mitchell seems to melt through a wall in a puff of acrid smoke or an equally villainous pool of filthy black ichor to present a video tape of his newest triumph. He clearly was never taught how to be a gracious loser. It seems far more likely that growing up he was taught to just flip the board of checkers over whenever a game began to go south.
This week, Wiebe reached the score of 1,064,500 and is now the holder of the Donkey Kong world high score once again. Good triumphs over evil yet again. Of course, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until Billy Mitchell rears his ugly greasy-haired head once more. There has to be some way to put a stop to this.
The grim realities of life in the real world can frequently be jarring and heartbreaking to a young adult. Such was my experience with my first job after college graduation: the dreaded call center. I could fill up a book with stories that would chill your blood in relation to experiences I had with placating customers who were overcome with wrath, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.
Working telephone customer service is one of the worst possible fates available to an idealistic youth. I found myself confronted by a demographic comprised entirely of people with anger management issues working toward a shared goal: making customer service representatives have emotional breakdowns. I managed to work there for a year, but my personality changed noticeably during that time. For the last couple of months I worked there, I adopted a lifestyle reminiscent of a hermit; I would return home, lock myself in my room, and anesthetize myself with video games until roughly 4 am when I would finally collapse into a dream world populated solely by legions of zombies chasing me and trying to devour me. It wasn’t a great year.
In addition to the purely spiteful people, there were also what I referred to as “the crazies.” These people were occasionally mean, but more often than not just made great stories. One such example was a woman all the representatives referred to as “The Cat Lady.”
It seemed to be a day like any other as I sat at my desk in between calls scribbling on a piece of paper with my pen trying to cover the entire sheet in ink to alleviate boredom. My phone rang; I removed it from the receiver, gave my little spiel, and said, “My name is Kevin, how may I help you today?”
I was greeted in return with a boisterous, “Well, hello Brother Kevin!” She gave me her account number and while she prattled on and on about how one of our books had literally saved her life, I read notes left on her account by my predecessors. All of them seemed to point to the same thing: I had a chatter.
We talked about how she praised God daily for our company saving her, how her husband was the love of her life, and her pride and joy: her pet cat. When she found out I lived in Pennsylvania, she merrily told me her cat was going to be the next mascot for the Pittsburgh Steelers and asked me to say hello to The Steelers for her. I assured her I would next time I saw them. It’s an easy promise to keep; I live four hours away and don’t go to Pittsburgh, therefore the next time I see them will be never.
Over the next several months, I would receive almost weekly calls from the Cat Lady, and I came to enjoy our conversations. They were a welcome break from being screamed at for things that weren’t my fault, and she always had some bizarre thing to say to me. Far and away the most bizarre conversation we had, however, was about Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Guess what I found out about Governor Schwarzenegger!” the Cat Lady said, her voice hushed with a tone of scandal in it. Did I mention she was from California and hated Schwarzenegger?
“What’s that?” I asked. I knew whatever she had to say would be good.
“I found out… he really was in those Terminator movies!”
“Oh. Yes. Yes, he was,” I said. I didn’t really know what else to say.
After I quit the call center, one of my friends that I kept in touch with informed me that the Cat Lady would still ask how Brother Kevin was doing every time she called. I miss hearing whatever wacky ideas she had, but after that one year I just had to get out. It may have given me some great stories, but I completely hated it.
Possibly the only two people in the world to despise the fab four make up the creative team of this comic, and we decided it was our responsibility to tell you why you shouldn’t really like The Beatles. Let the flame war begin!
I spent years listening to Beatles songs seeking understanding of what it was other people were hearing that I wasn’t. Every time I tried to listen to them, I felt like I was listening to a group of young men with literally nothing to say other than that they wished my hand would be positioned firmly within their own. I sat in a room alone while my teeth ground in time to the music, syncing up to the rhythm of the drum and bass perfectly which created marginally more appealing music. These little sessions always ended when I daydreamed about listening to Johnny Cash, mewithoutYou, The Cure, (or virtually anything else instead) and then realized actually doing this was completely within the realm of possibility.
Similar to my distaste for Dave Matthews Band, part of my problem with The Beatles, aside from just their music, are the rabid legions of Beatle-maniacs who worship them. I recall reading an article about Beatles fans burning with impotent rage when Sean Lennon allowed Lady Gaga to play the white piano, claiming that she was unworthy to play the instrument. Really? Skanks playing a piano with permission of the owner is what we get mad about now?
I couldn’t speak of how much I didn’t like The Beatles for years. I pretended to not mind them for more time than I really care to admit. Finally, the charade became too heavy of a burden and I broke. “I think I hate The Beatles,” I said as I leaned against the counter between Marc’s living room and kitchen while he finished his turn in Dokapon Kingdom and I waited for my own to begin. His eyes left the screen briefly, he voiced his agreement, the words that broke the chains, and with a tremendous weight lifted from my shoulders, I proceeded to slay a kobold that resembled a little boy with a hamster face.
Some will argue that I cannot possibly hate The Beatles due to my appreciation for rock music. They were the pioneers of the rock and roll guitar/bass/drum set up, and I should be grateful for the influence they had on music as a whole, because without them none of the bands I do enjoy would exist. I don’t honestly believe this is true. It isn’t like there are so many different moving parts in this set up that nobody else could have possibly invented it. If a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter for an infinite period of time would eventually recreate the works of Shakespeare, I think it would be far simpler for a different group of four people to have figured out putting those specific instruments together. Would rock and roll have come to exist as soon as it did? No. Would it have been the same? Not exactly the same. We would, however, have some variation of rock music whether or not the Beatles ever formed and began playing songs about an underwater vessel with a severe case of jaundice.
Furthermore, it’s not like rock and roll as influenced by The Beatles is all good. Sure, we got The Smiths and Neutral Milk Hotel, but remember Nickelback, Hoobastank, and Smashmouth? All of these bands could be classified as rock music, and while the existence of The Smiths covers a multitude of sins, if you’re going to credit The Beatles with influencing the good stuff, you have to blame them for the existence of the absolutely abysmal stuff as well.
What am I saying? I should be grateful. Thank you, John and Paul for the last 11 years of hearing All Star playing constantly in somebody’s car as they drive past my house. I only hope I am someday presented with the opportunity to give you a proper thank you.
To those who felt last week’s comic delved too deeply into depravity and the macabre, we deliver a triumphant return to our roots and our one true love: jokes about human excrement.
It has been said working in an office is like being a member of a family. You are crammed in uncomfortably close quarters with people that you did not choose to surround yourself with. Unlike family, however, you have even less in common with these people because you lack the bond of a shared bloodline. Also, you spend more time around these vagrants than your real family. This said, people who share an office have an immense opportunity to wrong each other in a myriad of ways.
I’ve never actually had my lunch stolen, but the comic is a fairly accurate depiction of what would most likely ensue if I were to have this type of problem. One of my favorite activities is hatching elaborate schemes in revenge for real or imagined sins. A prank war I was involved in ended with the pilfering of a rival’s underwear and subsequently tie dying it. It was then boxed up, marked with his mother’s return address, and deposited in his mailbox. Have you seen the face of a man who believes he’s receiving a care package from home and discovers instead he has obtained his own vandalized undergarments? It is exquisite.
This young man was my friend. Imagine the torment I would visit upon a nemesis.
Today’s comic is all about fond remembrances of salad days and a tip of the hat to the next generation of gamers. Welcome to the fold, friends. Ask your parents for $60, get thee to the closest game store, and whatever you do, do not take the last copy of a game we want.
If you don’t like this week’s offering, it’s okay. It probably just means you’re not a bad person. Seriously though, GameStop is the real villain of this piece. For crying out loud, this is a business they are operating here, and in business the goal is to stock products to sell in exchange for currency. If every other corporation in the world operated in this manner, gas stations would only fill your tank if you told them months in advance you were coming and paid them $5 before the fuel even came into their possession. If you forgot to preorder, I hope your boss didn’t want to see you at work any time soon, because your car’s tank is bone dry, son! Maybe you should consider riding a mule around.
As much as we attempt to avoid continuity, sometimes we create characters that we love too much to not bring back several times. Today’s comic features two of my personal favorites that were originally supposed to be one time gags and refused to sit dormant in our imaginations. Hopefully you enjoy Emo McFangface and the Drinkly’s Gum Cop as much as we do. If not, well, come back next week.
If you missed out on our midweek update this week in celebration of my birthday, you can go ahead and check our archives. If only there was a way to know whenever we decide to be unfaithful to Sunday… oh wait, there totally is! Imagine the possibilities if you just became a fan of us on Facebook or followed us on Twitter! You could receive all the latest news, updates, and bonus content that we submit every week.
This week, corn on the cob. Next week? Corn logs! As a certain anthropomorphic lion once sang with his hyena ensemble, be prepared!
I don’t really have much to say today, so perhaps you will enjoy this link to various corn on the cob recipes instead of my usual loquacious ways. I would write more, but I got back late from being at Purple Door Friday and Saturday, and I am tired. That is all.
A couple of weeks ago, I logged into my e-mail account to find an e-mail from Blizzard Entertainment stating that my World of Warcraft account password had been changed; this was alarming, because I knew I hadn’t changed it, which could only mean one thing – my account was hacked. Gold farmers are having a glorious time making a living off of other peoples’ progress in game, and I had become their most recent victim. There are interesting articles online that explain the account hacking, so I won’t bother writing about it in this space. If you want to learn more, click here.
I quickly reset my password and logged in to my account. I found all of my alternate characters missing every item and all the gold I had amassed in the last two years of playing and my main character, Shutendownen, was deleted altogether. Not only that, my characters had raided the La Guillotine guild bank and sold guild property.
Hackers seem to be working harder than ever to hack World of Warcraft players. I know many of my guild mates in La Guillotine have been hacked previously. As I was complaining about the hacking, my friend told me his account had been hacked four times, his wife’s had just been hacked, and while we discussed this, his brother in law texted him saying his WoW account had just been hacked. The timing was moderately humorous, but in all honesty, I’m still angry even though Blizzard restored everything I lost. The question is, who am I angry with and why?
First of all, I am angry with Blizzard. I would like to know how I got hacked. I heeded their warnings. I am incredibly careful with my computer. I never give anyone account names or passwords for anything, I don’t download suspicious addons, and I never use torrents for anything. This hacking problem has been going on for some time, yet this incredibly successful company can’t repel them with better security. Why, despite my cautious ways, was my account compromised?
Second, I am angry with the players who pay real money for play money in a fake world they already pay a subscription fee to play in. In addition to being brainiacs, you are enablers. It’s not bad enough that you are cheating; you are actually assisting in stealing from people who are legitimate gamers. I hope some day the same hackers find a way to give you the swift kick in the grundle you all so richly deserve for purchasing stolen property.
Finally, I am absolutely livid with the hackers. What they are doing is reprehensible and I’m actually giving thought to just quitting the game altogether. Even if I understood the lack of ethics in stealing other peoples’ property and selling it, deleting someone’s character is pointless. Pray that I never find you, because I think you know what will happen.
I have logged in a handful of times since being hacked, and at this point my enjoyment is diminished. Every time I log in now, I ask myself if it is worth the monthly subscription fee to log in for 15 minutes a couple of times a week to run my “random” dungeon, which always seems to be Heroic Gundrak. More and more I’m having a hard time saying yes.