My guest this week is Pete Holmes
. You may know Pete from Best Week Ever, Comedy Central's Premium Blend, or his cartoons in the New Yorker.

TALKING POINT: What game had the best continue screen?

Pete: This is kind of an old school thing, but in the arcades they would try to convince you to keep playing or, essentially, they would hurt your favorite characters.

Jeff: The creative continue screen was a nice touch. It's the last thing most people see, why not make it count?

Pete: Final Fight had your character tied to a chair with a stick of dynamite burning as the counter went from 10 to 1. Your guy would be freaking out, trying to blow it out, watching as death loomed closer and closer. As a kid, it made me kind of freak out.

Jeff: How poorly paid are Final Fight henchmen where they are like "We'll let you go… for twenty-five cents."

Pete: Well in their world, a quarter bought an entire honey-glazed ham which, of course, makes you feel like a million full-life bucks.

Jeff: Once I was out of quarters (or it was time for pizza) I would jam the buttons, just to make it countdown faster. I wanted to squeeze every last drop of interactivity out of the machine. Once those 10 seconds are up, all you can do is press start to make it go from the title screen to the demonstration.

Pete: In Ninja Gaiden they had a ninja tied to a saw mill, like a bad Bond movie. The screen just turned red if you didn't continue.

Jeff: I guess there's no need to show you something cool once the game has established you're out of money.

Pete: If you think about it, these continue screens might have inspired fatalities. I'm continuing, you're not, you die.

Jeff: Mortal Kombat 4 actually had a continue screen where your character was falling down what looked like an endless pit. When the counter hit zero, he hit some spikes. Otherwise, I dunno, he grew wings or something.

Pete: It's pretty tense to be searching through your impossibly tight jean pockets for another quarter.

Jeff: I like when a game would literally dare you to continue.

Pete: You never saw that at home. Nintendo was never like "Continue? Or let Bowser have his way with the princess?"


TALKING POINT: What's the best game you used to enjoy but now find unplayable?

Pete: Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation 1. Man that game kicked butt the first time around. It was unbelievable, but now it just seems cheesy. "Snake! How are you?" -loading- "Fine!" -loading- "You're a badass! Way to smoke those cigarettes!"

Jeff: Like The Matrix, the Metal Gear sequels really tarnished my memories of the original. Despite the awesome continue screens, my pick is Final Fight and every game that copied it.

Pete: Oh yeah, same thing with Streets of Rage (which, by the way, is how I have Streeter listed in my phone). It's pretty much the same game as Final Fight, except when you knock out the girl-cop bad guys, you saw their boobs a little bit.

Jeff: I can't believe how much time I spent with the SNES version of Final Fight. It didn't even have a 2-player mode! I wasn't even not having fun with a friend. The one that really hurts to go back to is any of the Ninja Turtle arcade games. There's no boobs or anything.

Pete: The only thing that made that different was that you could throw characters at the screen. Really broke the fourth wall.

Jeff: There are even less variations on the bad guy. Oh, that's a yellow foot soldier. Oh, that one's holding an axe.

Pete: The Simpsons Arcade Game was the same thing.

Jeff: You don't remember the second season episode where Marge and Homer beat up identical men in purple suits for a half hour? Purple Suit Guy would throw his hat at them, Lisa whipped him with her jump rope, it was hysterical.

Pete: And Bart would hit him with his skateboard!

Jeff: Like Telly in KIDS. That's when Bart was a serious menace. He's gone soft.

TALKING POINT: Worst video game ending?

Pete: Street Fighter 2. There are like there stills of Ken on a boat with a little text. Yeah, that was worth $82.50 and seven hours. How about some money back, or a free game? Nope. Just, "Here's Ryu eating sushi. Doesn't he look happy? He has you to thank. Sincerely, CAPCOM."

Jeff: Every character's ending assumed they had won the tournament, so nothing was even definitive.

Pete: Right, you could have made up your own. "Chun-Li came to your house after beating up M. Bison and did that scissor-kick thing to your face. But in a good way. Sincerely, CAPCOM."

Jeff: I always hated the Wizard-of-Oz-esque "It was all a dream" ending to Super Mario Brothers 2. Mario is just some strange weirdo that dreams he's his brother – but he's also his girlfriend! – and he's pulling rocketships out of the ground. Freud would have a field day with that one.

Pete: Nowadays, if you beat Grand Theft Auto without cheating you get a helicopter with missiles or something. But I always cheat, which people get mad about. They want you to play the hooker-killer thief-murderer game FAIRLY.

Jeff: Grand Theft Auto just never stops, so you have to decide when you're done. "Yeah, you've toppled most of Miami's organized crime but have you safely delivered 100 taxi cab passengers to their destination? What? Where are you going? You haven't even tried to find all 100 hidden boxes!"

Pete: Can I tell you why Hitman: Blood Money was the best ending of all time?

Jeff: Please do.

Pete: Basically the people who have been messing with you the whole game are at your funeral. You're dead – but when you wiggle the controller you come back to life. The credits stop rolling and you get to shoot up the entire funeral.

Jeff: You come back to life by wiggling the controller?

Pete: Well you just wake up. It's like Romeo and Juliet, you weren't really dead. Just drugged or something.

Jeff: That's probably the first time anybody has compared Hitman: Blood Money to Romeo and Juliet.
Pete: You get to kill everyone with a hammer, a screwdriver, and all these other crazy weapons. It's very, very satisfying.