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Mortal Kombat 1 releases tomorrow, “How it all… BEGAN!!!!!” My MK Story.

I was an 8-bit video game head, a Nintendo fan like most kids my age. The most violence I had come across was Mario squishing a goomba flat or Ryu Hayabusa making an enemy explode with his sword. Violence in gaming was a foreign concept, real deal blood and guts violence stood far away from me for quite some time, but that all changed, thanks to Midway, thanks to Sega, and thanks to my “Uncle”, “Uncle Paul”. This is how one game changed my view on video games and what they meant to me, forever.

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A trip down memory lane… Fighting Games, 5 Mile walks, and black widows in New England.

I love me some fighting games, competition gets me going, it gets my heart racing, my blood pumping, my anxiety ripping, and my fingers-uh-twitching.

Competition.

I’ve loved Fighting games all of my life, but for quite a while my love dwindled for a bit. Were the games too complex? Too easy? Just not interesting? Maybe, but a savior has come to revitalize the fighting game genre…

Enter Street Fighter 6!

Ouch… I’m sorry, I’m getting way too ahead of myself, totally another post, several of them as a matter of fact. Now, let’s bring it back to when my love started. Come with me on this memory-filled voyage.

My earliest memory of a fighting game was on our Atari 2600. The game was called, Boxing. In it, two players would come at each other and pound the orange button to get headshots. Playing it today brings back those flashback memories. To this day, Boxing still holds up!

I was there watching the fighting game genre evolve from nothing to a boom in popularity. I was there for the versus mode in Double Dragon 1 for the Nintendo 8-bit system and I was there for Karate Champ. Street Fighter came in, Mortal Kombat came out. Mortal Kombat changed me forever and to this day I still buy it on release day. More on that later as I’m still reveling in my past, rose-tinted glasses in tow. ABACABB. Please don’t be a DULLARD when inputting this code!

I could write an Animaniacs-style song about fighting games, Weapon Lord through its hat into the ring, a local arcade opened up near us which brought us the violent Time Killers, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, and Killer Instinct just to name a few. Games that tried to evolve the genre but failed, Eternal Champions but then it came back being better than ever and its fatalities actually trumped Mortal Kombat’s tenfold. It blew our young minds away.

My boy Filipe and I walked FIVE miles to buy Virtua Fighter Remix for the Sega Saturn at a cost of $2.99 and then we walked FIVE miles back. We were dedicated to the cause. We had patience, and we ate grasshoppers for breakfast. The brick-and-mortar was FuncoLand, now called Gamestop. That’s right, we have ourselves some gamer cred.

We were so infatuated with Mortal Kombat 2 that we would create soap operas within the game. One person would pick a character and talk as if the playable character was actually talking, while player two did the same. “I’ll get you Reptile, but first I got to beat Scorpion again!” Then in match two, Reptile would enter the story. We would make up these storylines on the fly and it was fun as hell (Pun?).

We had our group, our clique of friends who enjoyed fighting games. We’d host several tournaments and hours and hours would fly by in my small bedroom or my danky, insect-ridden basement complete with a gross black spider that I swear had a red mark on its back. We’d start at sunrise and finish at sunset. The local Knapp Video (a movie/game rental store) would bust out some video games from time to time and we would sit there playing in the middle of the place. Achievement Unlocked: Memories Formed.

Time flew by, and here I am more than thirty years later remembering some of the best times of my childhood.

To this day fighting games hold a special place in my heart and I love trying them out to see their different mechanics come into play. Each game was a treat to unwrap, bit by bit, a true present for the fighter in me.

Thank You for coming along on this nostalgia trip. In the coming weeks I’ll go in-depth on some of the lightly touched stories, and topics, I’ve mentioned. See You soon.

The Rise & Fall of The Crew – (2000)

Disclaimer: This story was written in the year 2000, at the time it was made with my then views of the world. Looking back some things may not sit well with me, but I’ll keep it as it was for posterity’s sake. It may be vulgar, and it even might make you mad. Read at your own risk. Enjoy!

While growing up, you had friends but usually you had one or two close friends, or best friends the way it was called back in the day. My best friend was David aka De Melo aka David Dillema aka David Davitus. We were in elementary school together and would hang out pretty much every day after school, etc.

As me and De Melo were chilling together, another set of friends were chilling as well, Lino and Jason. From what I know or think I know, they were hanging out together every day as well. We all went to the same elementary school together and we all knew each other. There were also other people that we went to school with in which we would later come to hang out with, David Catanho aka Castro, Louie Rebelo, and Kevin Alexandre.

Graduation from elementary school came for us and Roosevelt Junior High School awaited in September.  I swapped phone numbers with Lino, called him up one summer day to meet at the library, and we met there asked each other what videogames we had, and went home.

In junior high, I had most of my classes with Lino, and we acted up like crazy. Spitballs at the tv screen in sewing class, yelling out random words (bologna)  when the whole class was quiet, just doing mad stupid shit. My timeline might be all screwed up but one day I went to Lino’s house to get a game and De Melo came with me, thats when De Melo started to chill with Lino, and eventually i started to chill with him too.

Lino at the time chilled with Nestor and Ryan, and we eventually all started to chill with each other. When Nestor first saw me he said I reminded him of Robbie the Robot.

1997 was the year of the computer. Lino was the first to get his, then me, and then a couple of weeks later De Melo got his. With computers came AOL, and with its member directory, we could find anyone living in our city and get to know them. The first people we started to chill with were Stephanie, Shannon, and Jenn. Jenn stopped chilling because she was disliked by Shannon and Stephanie. Later on came Sue and Stacey and chilling with them caused a little ‘competition’ amongst my friends (three guys going after Sue). The details of that Saga though are in another story. 97 was the final year that we all would have a nice tight nit group, I remember sleeping over Ryan’s house for 1 week straight without calling home, going out to egg people’s houses, and tagging the dikes with Nestor… We were bad boys, bad boys for life yo.

In 1998 a lot of things happened, Lino was the first person to get his license a big step for us. That resulted in a lot more people being met and to chill with. I worked as a desert boy in a basement of a restaurant on the weekends for a year so I missed a lot of events. First, we started to chill with our old elementary school friend, Castro. De Melo got in touch with him by AOL and thats how that happened. Ryan’s friend Johnny aka Johnny Powers aka Johnny # 5 started to chill with us as well. We were still chilling with Stephanie, and Shannon and Brittany came in. We didn’t chill with Sue and Stacey that much anymore because she went back to her old boyfriend. That’s another story though.

   There were mad people to chill with but yet Lino was the only one with the license, so people were bound to be left behind, and dissed. There were also Sarah and Meredith that we hung out with. De Melo’s childhood friends Joe and Tabitha started to chill with us as well, along with Elois’s brother Alex.  There were so many different people that I don’t even think I can write them all down. But as with money, more people equals more problems right p diddy?

   What kind of problems do you ask? People talking shit, people going for other people’s girls, dissing, hate, murder, nah not murder but you know what I’m talking about.

What? Do you want me to enlighten you on some of these ‘problems’? AOL made pimpin’ easy, having multiple conversations at once, meeting girls here and there, it was great but it wasn’t cool when your boys tried to mack to the same girls you were.

   At one time De Melo was going out with Stephanie and another girl Ashley, and both he and Lino were talking to a girl named Megan online, I talked to her after I got her screen name somehow.  I went up to meet her with Lino, De Melo, and Ryan. She didn’t end up liking any of them but instead liked me, but she looked better online and i didn’t like her ugly face in person. One day online De Melo, Me, Jay, and Ashley were in a chat, For some reason me and Jay wanted to be dicks (although Jay denied it and let me take full blame)  and invited Megan and Stephanie into that same chat, we told her to look at everyone’s profile and she saw that De Melo was going out with two girls and blew up his spot. He managed to get back with Stephanie later on, but Ashley was gone. That was the first time I did something like that. Ryan also blew up De Melo’s spot a couple of times.

Then there was Robyn, a girl that I had talked to online through a chat, and I met her in school. Lino got her screen name while I was on my screen name at his house, and started talking with her. He eventually picked her up with me and Castro, and Castro started talking to her too. It was known that I liked her even joked about “yea moco we’re going to pick her up for you hahaha” I didn’t really like competing with the same girl so I backed away a little bit, and then one day while Ryan was at my house the news was delivered. “Castros crazy he kissed Robyn” said Ryan, I laid down and thought about what just happened, the shock, the horror, oh Jesus, and later on that night when Castro asked me where she was I flipped out and it was all exposed.  He said she kissed him, and she said he kissed her. We stopped hanging out with her but I still chilled with Castro although trust was never fully regained. I always thought it was Castro that made the move and it was just recently confirmed in the year 2002, although I bet Castro still denies it, you cold-hearted bastard you. -am I rolling De Melo?

   Jay had a reputation for talking shit about everyone and some people didn’t like hanging out with him. I always liked chilling with him though and he never did anything to disrespect me. Don’t disrespect my virtues yo.

I always got the feeling Eloi didn’t like me too much, he once told Ryan that I had a big mouth and couldn’t be trusted (maybe that was what gave it away..) and then he had a party in his garage and I came along. Becky a girl that he was talking to was there and she liked me and said she wasn’t interested in Eloi. That night the word “yee” was born. I ended up talking with her and going out with her for a little over a year. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but me and Eloi never really hung out with each other, and she didn’t like him anyways right? Around the same time,  two other girls that Eloi liked stopped liking him and liked me but I never acted out on those, but I suspect he didn’t like me after that too much either.

1999 was the year that we hung out with the most people, the peak, and also the decline… THE FALL!!!!  Castro was going out with Dannielle (Becky’s sister) before I even met Becky. We would chill with her and her friend, Amanda. Shannon was going out with some kid Kyle (remember when he said ‘I can barely hear ya!’ and me and jay made fun of him for mad long because he sounded like a bitch??) You see Kyle was part of this other crew, this Westport crew, they called themselves the ECT or EAST COAST THUGS! That was our rival crew we had online arguments and shit-talking back and forth. We thought Shannon was spending too much time with Kyle and his crew and that she was dissing us. During the course of that De Melo brang in Louie and his brother Manny into the crew. I remember walking through the mall and ECT being there with mad heads, and then Castro saw one of his boys there with a lot of his friends and we walked down the mall with about 30 people following us, does it sound gay now? Yea. But it was phat at the time so don’t give me lip. Eventually, the ECT vs The Crew thing blew over.

   Shannon stopped hanging out with us for a while but Lino and Stephanie brought her back in about a year later, and she went out with Louie

   We would always see Lino’s friend Nate at the mall by himself so we started to chill with him, and then came his friend Nick… and Sue and Stacey came back and started to chill with us, which again caused another ‘war’ with even more people trying to get with Sue but again the details are written in another story. Joe and Tabith stopped chilling for a reason that i can’t remember. Ryan and Nestor’s friends David Rosario, and Mike Medina started to chill with us, and Castro went out with Ashley (De Melo’s previous girl) months later they broke up.

   Keeping track of the story? There were two girls that we also met through AOL Sarah and Meredith, we would go to her house, jump on her trampoline,  and me and Castro would set small fires in her yard (small controlled fires) and piss on her house (you know its funny) but that came to an end for me at least when Meredith yanked my hair and I came back with a dead ant filled bucket of water and poured it on her head. She called the cops on us but we were never caught.

   Meet the Orlowskis, Lisa, and Rachel. Lisa was my “girlfriend” that never wanted to meet me, but I ended up getting mad at that, and later on, she went out with Eloi. Rachel started to hang out with Brittany and Stephanie and they became good friends(see what AOL does?) Lino went out with her for a while, they later broke up.

The fall of the crew came in my opinion from hanging out with too many people. People kept on talking shit about each other, others were forming their own little groups and chilling with the same three or four people all the time, and just forgetting about the others. Then Ryan got his license, and he started to pick me, Johnny, and Nestor, up all the time. Louie, Ashley, and Manny started to hang out with each other and eventually, she went out with Louie. De Melo was hanging out with  Castro and his brother Joe. Smaller groups were formed and we lost contact with each other.  Nick had parties every weekend at his house and it was like having crew ‘reunions’. We would sometimes chill in David Rosario’s basement too mad people just chilling, but eventually, those stopped, and pretty much everyone stuck to their small groups.