Removal of this PS2 controller will require a licensed OBGYN
I nabbed Virtua Fighter 4 the moment it hit retail, and promptly spent this entire weekend in a rigorous bout of training. I bandaged my thumbs, ate nothing but rice cakes, kept an eye-dropper handy and slept only in half-hour intervals on the beanbag in front of my PS2. Then I posted on the campus BBS that I was “unstoppable.”
At first I was the cat’s pajamas … not that I’ve ever seen cats wearing any … uhm, what I’m trying to say is that I began my Virtua Fighter 4 career with a string of unbroken victories up and down the dorm. I even took on Baldwin Hall – that’s right, the whole hall – and creamed every one of them while downing a six-pack. But that’s where the frustration came in. See, no matter what, I just couldn’t score any bragging rights. “I am the VF4 GOD!” I would shout. And somebody would always say, “Wow, you know about Ivan, right?”
Apparently Ivan was this Russian foreign exchange student. Everyone called him “Ivan the Terrible” but nobody could pinpoint exactly why. It had something to do with Virtua Fighter 3 and an incident back in mother Russia. Nobody knew exactly what the deal was but his rich parents managed to ship him off to study in America instead of … well, whatever would’ve happened had he stayed behind for the authorities. I couldn’t talk Virtua-smack without someone bringing up Ivan. “Yeah, you’re good, but have you heard about Ivan? One time he [mumble mumble] VF3 [mumble mumble] and left him for dead.” “Man, you’re good! But have you heard about Ivan? Feds watch him around the clock. I heard he plays as Akira.” “You’re pretty decent, but what about the Ivan guy? He dips his thumbs in blood before a game.”
I was fed up about living in Ivan’s shadow. If he was so good, why didn’t he just put out? I boasted on the boards that I would take Ivan down, anywhere, any place. People protested. “You’re not gonna make Ivan play Virtua Fighter!” they said. “He’ll have trippy flashbacks like ‘nam!”
Finally a showdown was set up. Me and Ivan. One on one. Standard rules. Best of 21 matches. People came from all over the campus. And finally, I got to meet Ivan the Terrible. Turns out? He’s only this little comp-sci major. Speaks pretty good English, but with a thick accent. His real name is Serguei. He loves Linux. Runs the computer labs in the student center. He twitches a lot. When it was time to play, he sunk into the couch next to me.
And so the tourney started. Now, I’ll give it to you, “Ivan” wasn’t too bad. But he was no me. His Akira suffered blow after stuttering blow from my drunken Shun Di. It was humiliating. One victory, two victories, five, seven… he managed to sneak a win in there but only after a close bout. Then eight wins for me, nine, hell – I was a couple of games away from totally bowling this guy over. Before long I felt comfortable bearing down on him with the smack talk.
“Ivan the Terrible?” I said. “I had no idea that the nickname was based on your lack of skillz! They should’ve gone with something less ambiguous. Like … Ivan the MALLEIABLE OCEAN SPONGE!” Whams, whams, whams, his porous defense couldn’t hold a candle to my patented “Dances with Punches” throw. I kept talkin’. “How about Ivan the Imposter? Ivan the Impotent?” Somewhere around this time a vein started to pulsate on little Serguei’s neck, red as the old Soviet flag.
Finally it was down to the wire, one last game and the title would be mine and mine alone. Akira came on strong but I was juking all over that ring, sippin’ sake like it was New Year’s in Tokyo. When it came time to make my attack, I laid into him like I had chainsaws for hands. Ivan went down like trousers at a brothel. Nobody dared applaud or celebrate my victory – they reeled back in fear and anticipation at what would happen next.
But I was flush with triumph. I jumped to my feet and began dancing circles around the couch. “Ivan the Ineffective!” I wailed. “Ivan as is ‘I van’ to give up’!” I hollered. Serguei’s lower lip moved, very slowly, away from where it had been clenched under his front teeth. His eyes followed me from behind his thick glasses. “I’ve got it,” I announced. “Ivan the little tiny wee man reduced to a gibbering puddle of infantile garbage at the merest dink of my fist!” And then I stood in place and delivered the coup de grace:
“You fight like Windows runs a webserver!”
Let me tell you, Doctor, the worst part was the noise that controller made on its way in. I’ll hear that in my nightmares for years. Thank heaven for all those rice cakes – lots of fiber in rice cakes. Owwhh! For the love of God can someone PLEASE turn off the force feedback? Thank you!
They don't call these "dual shock" controllers for nothing!
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