Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Frogger Galagaligotendonitis: A term coined to describe the ache one feels in one’s wrist & elbow due to repetitive pounding of the FIRE button on video arcade games.
Donkey Kong
I was strolling through the illustrious Portland Pearl District with all it’s high falootin’ furniture stores, upper-class clothing shops and four-star restaurants yesterday. I heard from what appeared to be a mere hole in the wall amidst the glamour of the Pearl the oh-so familiar sounds of beeps, whistles, explosions, and wacka wackas of my favorite video arcade games of the 80’s. I froze, looked up and saw a small hand-painted sign above the door: “Mission Control”.

Mission ControlI had just discovered Mecca!

The unassuming door was ajar, filling the air with the hypnotic sounds of Pac Man, Space Invaders, Frogger, Tron, Asteroids, and the game of all games, GALAGA! Like a man in a trance I was pulled through the door and turned 11 yrs old again. This little unassuming arcade resembled a museum, hosting all the antique 1980’s electronic video arcade games. There was even an Atari station by the bar where Pong tournaments could be held. Did he say by the bar? That’s right, QBert! One can guzzle beer while blasting away centipedes! Galaga

I pulled a Lincoln out of my wallet and exchanged for a pocketful of quarters. I began dropping coins in Donkey Kong, Joust, Battlezone, Pole Position, Tempest, Defender, killing, shooting, pounding, eating, blasting! But I saved the best for last. I approached the console reverently, bowed to my old nemesis, the alien “Boss” Galaga, deposited my 25 cent offering, and the game was on!

Galaga was like cocaine to me when I was 13. I used to sell my stash of 2 dollar bills bequeathed to me by my late grandmother (sorry, Grandma. Rest in peace.) just so I could get my Galaga fix each day. Playing Galaga was better than sex! ‘Course I was a geek, a virgin geek at that, and would remain so for many (many) years, and only fantasized that sex was possibly as much fun as a stimulating video arcade game. Now with the pleasant addition of sipping an unfiltered wheat beer while playing a 25 year old video game, I still think sex might place a close second.

For almost an hour I dodged missiles, formed dual-fighters for challenge stages, blasted alien insects, offered more quarters, sipped beer and forgot about the world and all my troubles for a spell. When the Blue Boss crashed into my last fighter I again bowed to Galaga, acknowledging that he was indeed still the master, but assuring that I would return to challenge him another day.

Like, maybe, today. Anyone got change for a 2 dollar bill?

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