They haven’t given up, I’ll give them that. For the past few days, five feline adventurers have attempted to free me from my prison. Alas, the room I’m trapped in is pitch black, and the brave kitties can’t make any headway on liberating me. Maybe it’s all in vain. I almost feel guilty that so much effort is being wasted on me. I think I hear them approaching now. Yes, they’ve entered the room. I’m ready for another disappointment. Wait a minute. What’s this? A light?! Yes! One of the brave warriors has used magic to illuminate the room! Hooray! But… oh no. There are two armored ghosts guarding my cage. At least my would-be rescuers can see what they’re up against. They swing their swords with mighty blows, but it’s not enough defeat my captors. The cats make their retreat. Still, this is progress. This gives me hope. Perhaps tomorrow I shall be free. But for now, I guess there’s nothing to do but be patient.
My son is supposed to be getting ready for bed, so what the heck is with all that noise? I hear lots of laughter and what sounds like yelling and grunting coming from upstairs. I decide I’d better head up there and investigate. When I enter my boy’s room, it all makes sense: He got his hands on my DSi and is playing Photo Dojo. I haven’t played the game in months, and I doubt my little guy remembers back to when I snapped photos and recorded voice clips of him for the game. All he knows is it’s absolutely hilarious to see tiny versions of the two of us fighting on the DSi’s screen. “Look, Daddy! I’m beating you!” The Photo Dojo version of me emits repeated cries of despair as it is pummeled by my son’s in-game alter ego. Taunts boasting “You’re weak!” come thorugh the DSi’s speakers. I leave my son to his fun while I go brush my teeth, hoping that tonight I can somehow manage to stay awake long enough so that I can get a turn playing Photo Dojo, too.
Balancing a 14-month-old on my lap is proving to be detrimental to my performance. I used to play this game for hours at a time on my Dreamcast a decade ago, but I’d never played the original arcade version until now. My skills are definitely rusty, and my daughter is not helping one bit. “No no, Yoshie!” She’s not listening. I turn my body sideways to keep the wheel out of her reach, but that leaves me with only one hand to work with. We’re running out of time and our customer is getting impatient. At least B.D. Joe has got our back with this unruly passenger. “Shut up and move your butt!” The drop-off location is coming into view but there are only seconds left. There’s no way we’re going to make it. I look down at my daughter and she’s grinning, her eyes fixated on the screen and her hands still reaching toward the steering wheel. Our final score was laughable, but this was the best game of Crazy Taxi ever.
Well, I suppose we should have expected this. We assumed our son was asleep for the night, but only minutes after putting him to bed we heard him crying. My wife went upstairs to see what was wrong and a minute later she was back downstairs, carrying our boy. Her expression said it all, but she clarified all the same: “He’s afraid of ‘The Zombies.'” Earlier in the evening my wife and I enjoyed a round of The House of the Dead at Peter Piper Pizza, much to our son’s displeasure. “That game’s too scary!” he said as we dropped our tokens into the slot. We assured him that the zombies weren’t real, and he even starting laughing and cheering along with us as we “blasted those silly zombies!” And honestly, the game’s zombies look so blocky and cheesy, it’s hard to think of them as frightening. But the imagination of a child is very powerful, and now we’re paying the price for letting him watch. It’s going to be tough getting our little dude back to sleep tonight. Playing The House of the Dead in front of a four-year-old is definitely not the smartest parenting move on our part, and without sleep tonight we’ll be suffering like G did when the morning rolls around!
Just as expected, Yellow has the ship in position. In but a few more steps I’ll jump aboard and we’ll make our escape. Or so I thought. Without warning, an enormous robot rises up and grabs the craft. I stop dead in my tracks. The robot gets right down to business and begins its onslaught, intent on smashing me with Yellow’s ship. My attacker is slow, though, and I sidestep its blows with minimal effort. Yellow looks understandably confused by what’s happening. It’s almost endearing. Enough horsing around. I’d better save her, not to mention my ticket out of here. If that craft gets smashed, I can kiss my chances of survival goodbye. It takes a substantial deal of firepower to put a dent in the robot, but eventually my blasts cause it to let go of the ship. It’s time to finish this. Not a problem. Easy as pie. Like shooting fish in a barrel. I almost feel insulted by how little the opposing force must think of me if this is the best they can do. With the final shots fired, Yellow and I zoom off, but it looks like we’re not getting off that easy after all. There are enemies closing in quickly. It’s about time somebody woke these jokers up. I pull out my favorite weapon and get ready to rock.
I’m at a total loss. I’m stuck with almost nothing but vowels and I can’t seem to find a spot for them on the board. I decide to ask my wife for help. We’re laying in bed with the lights out. Our daughter is snuggled between us, nursing as she slowly falls asleep for the night. “Do you mind playing this round for me?” I hand her the iPod Touch. “Make me look smart!” I can tell my wife is exhausted, but she humors me nevertheless. Less than a minute later I hear the familiar jingle that signifies when a turn has been taken. I reach over to retrieve my iPod. “Wow, 33 points. Good job! Thanks!” I check my e-mail and read up on some video game news, then set my iPod on the bedside table. Everything is quiet. I whisper to ask my wife if our daughter is sleeping yet. No response. I guess both my girls are busy dreaming.
What a horrible day to have a diarrhea attack! Not only is Chop Chop Master Onion stuck at the back of the line to use the restroom, but now that little upstart who outrapped him earlier has returned and is trying to take cuts. Chop Chop attempts to plead his case to PaRappa: “I need to go just as bad as you. What I had this morning I don’t even want to say to you!” But PaRappa won’t back down. Apparently his stomach is on the fritz, too, and he’s desperate to get to the toilet first. The only thing to do is rap to decide who gets to make use of the facilities first. Chop Chop puts on a fine performance: “Kick! Punch! Turn and Chop the door!” But PaRappa follows up each of Chop Chop’s lines with perfect timing, besting the old master’s flow. When the battle finally ends, PaRappa steps forward to challenge the next person in line while poor Chop Chop descends into diarrhea hell.
Holy cow, that’s one big ant. Like, amazingly, freakishly gigantic. Something that large could make mincemeat of me in no time, but I have nothing to worry about because it’s trapped behind a barrier and I’m far out of its attack range. I direct a steady stream of missiles into the beast’s head and in seconds my adversary is no more. As I watch the huge insect explode into bits and pieces, the words of my navigator, Dr. Ban, echo in my head: “Don’t miss the item that will appear.” Hmmm, item? Oh, now I see what he’s talking about! An oversized pineapple appears where the ant had been only moments ago. As I move in to grab the fruit I’m suddenly ambushed by hundreds of smaller ants. It’s a trap! I haphazardly speed in all directions, looking for an exit while firing at the wall of arthropods with everything I’ve got, but the swarm is simply too much for me to handle. In the final seconds before my mech is overrun, I notice the item Dr. Ban must have been talking about: napalm. The ants wouldn’t have stood a chance. But it’s too late now. This is the end!
So far, Lady Luck has been on my side. While the journey up the mountainside has been treacherous for my opponents, it’s been nothing but smooth sailing for me. My good fortune is making me feel a bit cocky, truth be told. I roll the dice and land two 6s, which allows me to roll an additional time for a total of 17. At this rate the treasure will be mine in no time. See you later, suckers! I jog forward, thinking only of the gold waiting at the summit, when the unthinkable happens. The space I land on forces me to switch places with another player, landing me at the back of the pack! To make matters worse, the next roll finds me tumbling through the ground and into the belly of the volcano. I suppose this is what I deserve for acting so pompous. It’s going to take a lot of skill — and even more luck — to escape from here and reclaim the lead.
On my way to Turtle Bath I stop and chat with a smiling officer at the police box. He admits he’s bored out of his mind because there’s nothing to do, but at least the streets are safe. I bid him adieu and continue my walk to the bathhouse. A living statue of a lion is manning the counter. Outsiders might think that sounds bonkers, but here in Long Life Town, he’s actually one of our more normal residents. I hand over 200 yen and start to open the door to the bath area. The lion yells at me for forgetting to take my clothes off. Whoops! I duck behind a changing screen, strip down, then make a quick dash for the bath area. After rinsing off, I submerge my body in the warmth of the tub. Aaaah, this is the life. Feeling refreshed, I dry off, change back into my clothes, and make my way for the exit. The lion remarks that my bathing technique is all wrong and chalks it up to the foolishness of kids nowadays. Oh well. The sun has set, the streets are dark, and it’s after curfew, so I decide it’s time to go home. I spot the policeman I had spoken with earlier, but something about him seems different… When I walk over to say hello his eyes suddenly flash like spotlights and he begins firing his gun at me! Oh no! I guess he’s not bored any longer!