My guest for this week's A Winner Is You! is CollegeHumor writer Patrick Cassels. Some of Patrick's most popular articles have been about Mario and getting NES games to work.
TALKING POINT: How sweet is watching Nick Arcade reruns on GAS?
Jeff: Pretty sweet. Nick Arcade's a great game, but not without its flaws. It's from a magical time before producers knew what video games actually looked like, so it's got this artificial "FUTURE!" feel. That said, I would pay any price for three minutes in the video zone. I've studied that mine cart level, I can't lose.
Patrick: I always pictured the contestants surrounded by blue screen, dodging whiffle balls thrown by Nick studio production assistants. Nick always made the final rounds impossible. Minivans and paid vacations to Universal Studios don't grow on trees.
Jeff: I've seen contestants conquer the video zone, but nobody escapes the Hidden Temple alive. The temple guards need to consume the bones of children to survive.
Jeff: I was watching Nick Arcade recently, and it never occurred to me that the host is gay.
Patrick: It never occurred to me he was black.
Jeff: It was a terrible idea to pad out the non-video-game segments with boring trivia about things like history. Wouldn't it have been great if the questions were like, "Who is the boss in the first level of Turtles in Time?"
Patrick: Remember, this was during the great video-game-apathy scare of '95. I guess they wanted to promote reading as well.
Jeff: Who cares about presidents and stuff? By the way, the answer is Baxter Stockman in fly form.
TALKING POINT: What's the best portable game?
Patrick: Pokemon, hands down.
Jeff: Patrick, you're a very good writer for a 9-year-old, but I'm going to have to disagree. The top three handheld games of all time are, in no particular order, Tetris, Tetris, and Tetris.
Patrick: Tetris is great in its simplicity. But can the S-shaped block shoot bolts of lightning from its ears and be kept in a little red and white ball?
Jeff: No, but it doesn't yell "S-block!" every time it lands, either. Tetris is one of the only games better on the portable system than it is on the console. There's no flash in Tetris, it's all substance. People are still going to be playing Tetris 100 years from now. It's the closest thing to chess that's been invented in our lifetime.
Patrick: And both came from Russia, right?
Jeff: I believe, according to the box art, Tetris actually came from space.
Patrick: I must admit, nothing beats the feeling of fitting a T-shaped block into a single divet.
Jeff: Tetris is the only game I ever saw my parents play. It's just such beautifully simple game.
Patrick: I agree. However, my second choice, Skate or Die: Bad n' Rad, is just flat out gnarly.
Jeff: If Tetris is chess, Bad n' Rad is guess a number between 1 and 10.
Patrick: Yeah, but guess it WHILE RIDING A SKATEBOARD.
Jeff: I believe Ken Rosenberg Stories would be the first game with a Jewish protagonist, unless you count Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney or Scrooge McDuck in Duck Tales.
Patrick: And Rabbi Mordeci's Sabbath Challenge! for the Genesis.
Jeff: How about a Punch-Out 2, starring Mike Tyson. It would basically be Punch-Out, but since Tyson's already at the top you have box opponents like a dump truck and a dinosaur. Iron Mike eventually works his way up to the title match against a fourth Bald Bull.
Patrick: Or a second Macho Man!
Jeff: I'd be interested in a Dr. Wily game where you just build silly robots. It'd play kind of like The Sims, but with more opportunities to conquer the world.
Patrick: And surround the robots in a protective grid around you. I'd like to play a game starring one of the Russian soldiers from the NES classic Rush'n Attack. You easily stab 800 of them throughout the game, and it'd be interesting to get inside the head of such a disposable character.
Jeff: That's an idea worth exploring sort of like a Koopa Troopa game where you just float up and down all day, hoping Mario jumps into you. I'd like to see Bowser get his own game, but it would have to be really dark. You have to kidnap women, pillage villages, build a palace, and eat babies. It'd be rated M.
Patrick: For Monstrous.