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January 29, 2012

The Ballad of the Blue Bomber

Upon my usual return from school
Where academia doth justly rule
My ears did soon detect the sound
Of bleeps and bloops so great abound.

My interest was soon greatly piqued
So through the hall I did sneak
To investigate the hidden source
And let my searching run its course.

I firmly grasped the wooden door
Whilst my dogs barked ever more;
The notes that I did rapidly hear
Filled my heart with chilling fear.

“What ho?  What sorcery is this?
Surely this can give no bliss!
My clan’s halls hath been defiled
By chicanery and knavish guile!

Not of the blonde-haired, sonic-booming sort
But one with vile, cruel cohorts
Who dare to sabotage and siege
My Xbox 360’s prestige!”

I quickly swung the door so wide
That mine howling hounds did hide
And what else should I find
But the fearsome Mega Man 9?

“Good morrow, brother!” cheered my kin.
“Take note, for soon comes my win!
 My conquest of this fabled game
Shall bring me endless pride and fame!”

My eyes traversed the HD screen
And observed a distinct eight-bit sheen
Many squares did I doth see
And lo!  Ethereal beauty!

As I did take my seat
Dearest brother met defeat
A field of spikes soon stole his life
And filled thy heart with endless strife.

“Woe to me, and my busted friend!
I reject this pitiful end!
I shall not be blithely spurned –
By my honor, I shall return!”

His fury on the rise
Clawing well into the skies
He braved a nostalgic 2D hell
Deaf to his most recent death knell.

A million robots in his path
To carve a heartless epitaph
And pits that scraped the planet’s core
That the bomber falls forever more.

O wretched spikes that bloom so free
Why must you always torture we
The players, men and women of faith
Who routinely brave the calls of wraiths?

So many foes felled by the fists
Of my clansman’s avatars, and the gentlest twists
Of fingers, hard by years of pain
That they may succeed, again and again?

Ten thousand and one battles, to wit
Yet this simple game made him a twit
So swiftly falling to wily traps
His rage, unbound, rending all wraps.

“Poor Brother!”  I wailed, tear in my eye
But he merely scoffed, and loosed a sigh.
“No matter.  But I wish to win
So I shall duel a foe with a Shoryuken!”

As he traveled to the flame-filled field
In my mind, a thought congealed
One day soon, I would face Light’s foes
Provoking a nightmarishly loud “Oh noes!”

As I entered my chamber late that night
(To the chorus of a Tiger Shot blight)
My mind did wander into wonder
About my coming platform blunders.

My own conquests, a meager bunch
For my lack of skill affected a crunch
Of my avatar, from a fatal fall
A delay to action, any and all.

If I could die, then the fates would sing
And no more lives their song would bring
“By the gods,” my soul would claim
Yet deep down I knew I was to blame.

Mayhap this was my own undoing?
My careless words set this horror a-brewing
A referral to that mega man
Of which my brother was once a fan.

“A challenge, you say?” one fateful morn
I mused over some bread of corn.
“Then I do declare – if you have the time –
Perhaps you’d enjoy Mega Man 9!”

“What rubbish is it of which you speak?
No time!  I have a Death Knight to tweak!”
He folded his arms, and thine lips he did pout.
“I have no time to be leaping about!”

“But surely ye can see the allure
Of classic gameplay; you’ve matured
Into a player of such high standing;
How can ye resist arm-cannon commanding?”

He slammed a hand on our round table
His irritant mood growing more unstable.
“Enough!” he cried.  “I shall hear no more!
I shan’t waste money on a pixel-rife bore!”

With those words, the door did close
And my kinsman’s wishes I did not oppose
Against the praise of reviewers worldwide
Their soaring scores, they refused to hide.

Yet the game, he did not despise
(“He’s always this way,” I dared surmise);
The ebb of time did soothe his thoughts
And over the months anguish he fought.

How could he turn down a duel
‘Gainst spikes so lethal, and villains cruel?
To refute honors on GameFAQs
Of which my clansman so oft perused?

Why he did not wait, I do not know
For the tenth chapter would soon show
Its sprite-filled face, in a week was due
With dreaded Sheep Man and his crew.

Tut, tut!  No matter; the deed is done
If ideals hold true, he shall have his fun
To struggle against the Wily clan
And foil said dastard’s evil plan.

Yet no Masters did he run on through
With Buster Shots, or powers new;
He saw his nights so better spent
With making online scrubs repent.

That fated day, the task was mine
To crush the robotic bloodline
I swallowed hard, and steeled my nerves –
And almost cried, if mem’ry serves.

No matter the foe, my fate seemed certain –
My life would end just as the curtain
Rose on my career, and certain doom
By malicious fingers ever loomed.

Nevertheless, I chose my path
Smiling despite the coming wrath
Like a madman lost without a plan
I nodded, and chose Tornado Man.

A catchy tune graced my ears
And for but a moment eased my fears;
As I missed my first few jumps
My hands did tremble, and my heart did thump.

Enemies swayed to and fro
As I delivered the killing blow
Plowing into my blue-garbed proxy
(Though I must admit, they had some moxie!).

A devious trial lay ahead
With one wrong move that would leave me dead:
A twisting platform; with one step missed
I would tumble into the abyss.

I did my best to hold my footing
Yet the platform’s speed proved quite off-putting
And no sooner had I carved a win
Did I hath do it yet again.

“Be still, my fingers!” I whispered oft.
“By mashing A, I’ll stay aloft!”
Yet my quick scheme bore no fruit;
My bomber fell – his life followed suit.

The madness repeated, three times anon
Hopes of winning, in a flash, were gone.
Pits, platforms, and spikes abound!
How could I brave them and still stay sound?

Profound sadness consumed my heart
And from this game I dared depart
For Mass Effect, I’d yet to beat
But nay!  A Master, I’ll first defeat!

My nerves ablaze with fiery will
I steeled my heart; I’d not go till
A boss I’d downed by my own hand
So I smiled – and chose Concrete Man.

 “What luck!” I cheered with righteous glee.
“The easiest level, this must be!
To traverse these sewers, and come out clean
And prove I am a killing machine!”

Robots with stones dropped death from above;
We traded blows, like foes in love
And when I came to an endless gap
I haughtily assumed there was no trap.

What foolishness!  What naïveté!
Sentries emerged, and tried to flay
The azure sentinel; despite his aim
He fell to his death – the end of the game.

My spirits dropped in a thunderous flash
And plowed through Hell with a resounding crash
But no!  Not yet!  I am no git!
I refused to be pwned by a mass of bits!

I focused my mind on the task just ahead
Mem’rized their flight patterns and soon shot them dead
Traversing those gaps, foul bots I did best
But be on your guard!  Here comes a true test!

Green elephant droids, obstructing my path
Launching spheres of immeasurable wrath!
Pits and vacuum in combination
A surefire way to ensure my damnation!

My head did droop like a wilting carnation
Thwarted by Capcom’s heartless machination!
No more chicanery!  No devilish tricks!
I’ll not have a game gain its accursed kicks!

Desperate but driven, I chose on a whim
That no matter the level, my fate was quite grim
And regarding that truth, I could do no wrong
And thus comes the most painful part of this song.

“Galaxy Man?  You fool!” my brother blared.
“If ye want victory, you’re in for a scare!”
I shook off his words; my luck had run out
It mattered not where I went jumping about.

The trials within seemed paltry at best
(Compared to deep pits and elephant fests!)
A quickly dodged bot, a quick-warping tube –
A rather nice run for a Mega Man noob.

Though my lives dwindled, and my health bar depleted
I had made my stand – “I shan’t be defeated!”
I passed through the doors to the big boss’ hollow
But the ensuing battle proved too hard to swallow.

The fast-flying boss zipped out of my line
Of fire from those rapid-fire pellets of mine.
His black hole, a nuisance, near-sucked me in
But I braved space-time flux for the sake of the win.

I fired my shot when the boss seemed his weakest
But – of course! – my offense was meekest
Barely a bar gone with each quick attack
And a fifth of mine gone with a painful crack.

Invincible frames, shielding him from my shots
Making any brief chance all for pure naught.
A tackle attack too fast for my mind
By the time I’d prepared, he’d left me behind.

At worst, my life force was quickly devoured
And my once hardy spirit soon crumbled and soured.
At best – a fact that still fills me with strife –
I could take only half of Galaxy Man’s life.

I retired to my quarters a beaten man
Who despite his will or most daring of plans
Could not prove his worth to a beeping machine
Too callous!  Too cruel!  And much too extreme!

As the moon made its rounds I settled in bed
The mem’ry of failure still adrift in my head.
On that day I’d not beaten a boss
And to this day the data merely gathers moss.

My hopes were misplaced – to believe I could win!
No doubt I’m more suited to guzzling gin.
The Olympian challenge reaches much too high
Those who dare mount it are destined to cry.

Yet why does this game invade our hearts so?
Despite shattered pride and 360 pads thrown?
Could Chronos, time’s lord, play with our minds
And make our hearts lust for what’s been left behind?

Despite my sound trouncing, I bear no ill will
(I’d much rather blame my complete lack of skill);
Painful?  But of course!  Few games can do better
To break a man’s heart whilst staying unfettered.

The pain we endure – aye, this is the key
What sort of buffoon would prefer pure safety?
In the depths of despair, where there is no light
To come out still smiling – that’s this game’s great might!

And for those with the skill, and wisdom so true
Victory shall come to the bomber in blue
To succeed the odds, no taste can be greater
A triumphant fanfare, for thy sleight of hand later!

Who knows what will happen?  The future, unknown
But my ballad, I hope, to your mind’s eye hath shown
Fate shall command me to play that game again?
And who knows?  Perhaps I’ll BEAT Mega Man 10!*

(...I didn't beat Mega Man 10.  But I did beat Mega Man X6.  Great success!)

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