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Reliable Source: How Tetris Ruined Christmas ‘89

Marion Cox | 26 Dec 2009 10:00
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I am curious, everyone has a list of favorite games, but I am more interested as to which games you don't like.

What an odd coincidence, as I was sitting here alongside an abandoned desert highway somewhere in the Nevada I was remembering Christmas Eve in 1989 when Tetris probably kept me from becoming popular, getting on the baseball team, and making out with the loose girl at my school. But first let me tell you about how I wound up here in the desert..

If you're a weekly reader of Reliable Source, then you know that last week I was in Los Angeles covering the Spike Video Game Awards. While I was there, I met some people, some of which I headbutted, others with whom I partied. All in all, it was a lot of fun - - so much fun, in fact, that when the party ended, we decided to head to Vegas to see Penn & Teller's act and pretend that we're in the new Fallout Vegas game.

It started innocently enough. I spent the first two hours of the drive playing Plants vs. Zombies, but once the battery started to fail it became readily apparent that we needed to break our pledge to avoid the presence of open containers in a moving vehicle.

It's not that I don't like beer, I just feel that a trip to the bathroom is time you could spend doing other things. The desert was not particularly interesting, however, so I began to feel that digging into our cooler was the only way to stay sane. Thirty minutes later, a flash game developer named Mark who had won a $12,000 contract to make a holiday game where Santa melts snowmen by peeing on them, was trying to recall the theme played during the moon level in Nintendo's Duck Tales. Let's just say his musical ability confirmed that the beer was an absolutely necessary distraction.

The alcohol caused two things to happen: First, we found it much easier to ignore Mark's musical attempts, and second, it confirmed that I do indeed have a small bladder. We stopped about 300 miles outside of Vegas to alleviate the building pressure in my abdomen. Unfortunately for me, this is where my trip to Vegas ended. As for the others, who knows? Perhaps they are enjoying lapdances from surgically enhanced exotic dancers named Daisy and Henrietta. All I do know is that they drove off with my beer and games.

That is why I am spending Christmas in the desert, alone. I just hope that my Zune's batteries last long enough to finish this article. Dammit, if I'd bought an iPhone instead, I'd have just called the police. My reluctance to buy Apple products means that I will probably die writing this column by using the Zune's awkward keypad in hopes that it will be found at a later date like an extremely shallow last will and testament.

Not that dying alone on Christmas surprises me; the holiday has never been a great day for me. My history of crappy Christmases started in high school with a gift that should have been the pinnacle of my childhood, but actually turned out pretty awful.

Of course, the gift wasn't solely to blame as many circumstances led up to the incident. There were some things at school that would ensure that you would be popular. You could be on the baseball team or make out with the inexplicably well-developed Stacy King. Not being particularly athletic or owning a car pretty much ensured that both of those were out of my reach. The only thing that ensured my popularity was owning the newest portable gaming system, the Nintendo Gameboy.

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