Soda Popinski, go to hell

For a good few weeks now I’ve been trying to find a way to regularly complete passes further than ten yards in Madden 10. I’ve been painstakingly dissecting the safeties, looking over the coverage, hot routes, motion, anything to do more than a swing pass in the flat.

In FIFA, I’m trying to perfect beating the offside trap to bust my Dublin cronies. I’m American, in Kentucky nonetheless, so not much is expected from me in soccer. Beating Euros in this is key for my self esteem as a gamer, no, as an American. It’d definitely be a nice feather in my cap, at least.

Then why am I still obsessed with one Speedo-wearing, steroid-infused, awkward drunk commie bastard from Moscow. The man I speak of is Soda Popinski.

Why do you mock me?
This heartless bastard in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! has been a thorn in my side for two decades now. I couldn’t beat him when I was 13 messing around on my NES. Now I’m 31, married with two kids, building a career, moved all over the United States, and this mocking jackass keeps getting me

Do you want to know when you have a great game? Sometimes it’s not the strategy or sick graphics or naughty words, it’s, as Malcolm Gladwell would say, the stickiness. It’s that ability of a game to bury a hole in your mind and have you obsess over it to the point of freaking out over it.

I remember an old interview I heard with AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson. He was
asked if criticism of the perceived simpleness of some the band’s songs bothered him. He replied, I’m paraphrasing, that anyone can write something really complicated, but it takes hard work to write something that stays with everyone.

Hopefully I remembered everything about that interview, but think about Highway to Hell versus anything written by Emerson, Lake and Palmer and you have an idea.

We’ll this bastard, Popinski, and those cats at Nintendo knew this. The game, essentially, is finding out the particular cadence of a fighter and reacting to it. The genius is funny characters that stick with you, a compelling visual of you as the underdog, and giving you just enough time before punches for you to screw up and get smacked.

So I can’t wait for another Resistance game. And I can wax poetic on Wild Arms and Xenogears. And I can tell you why Final Fantasy VII is the greatest or most overrated game of all time.

But damnit, I can’t beat Soda Popinski. Maybe I should play For Those About To Rock for inspiration.

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