Thursday, August 24, 2006


If you're anything like me (and I hope for your sake that you're not), you spent a large portion of your formative years playing Nintendo. Not Super Nintendo or your Wii. No. Nintendo, with ROB your Robotic buddy and Duck Hunt and Gyromite and Oktoroks. That Nintendo.

We didn't have eighteen buttons and a magic wand. We had two miserable buttons, one of which didn't always do anything.

To tell you what a hep cat I was in high school, I would get together with my friends, go to Blockbuster video, and rent a Nintendo game that we would play slavishly for hours, with only a twelve pack of hyper-sugary soda to sustain us.

And what was the game that ate so much of our time? Black Bass. That's right. A fishing game. Black Bass was great because everyone could sit around and root on the person holding the tiny, uncomfortable, non-ergonomic Nintendo controller as they tried to land a video fish, fighting with both the A and B buttons...OK, just the B bring that baby in. You'd hold that B button for all you were worth, until the pleasing reeling sound changed to the hated, grating your line is going to break! sound (the two sounds were, in fact challengingly similar.) Then, you'd have to hold off on the reeling for a while and wait, while that beautiful pile of pixels sat there in the video water, mocking you.

And then, if you were lucky, you had that pile of pixels in the net, and the moment of truth would arrive--TOO BAD! IT'S SMALL! Words that the video fisherman (and most other kinds of video men, obviously) spend their lives hoping not to hear.

Perhaps the best part about Black Bass was that you would play for hours and hours and, well, hours, and finally get to the highest level of the game. At this level, the fish were huge. Half the size of our 19" portable screen. And from what we could tell--and I want to emphasize here that my friends and I played this game probably more than anyone else on the planet...possibly more than the developers--there was no way to land them.

You'd get them so, so close to your video net, and those bastards would jump, and they'd fight, and OH! THE FISH GETS AWAY! I tell you, it brings tears to my eyes.

And now, I pass this gift on to you.

Black Bass on


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