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Fish and Chips and Mario




Lent, 1981....The video game craze is in full force and my brother and I are relentlessly pummeling my parents to get us an Atari because it's educational, everyone has one and whatever other brainwashing tecniques we could think of....an effort that would pay off at Christmas time. As per usual for us at the time we headed down to my Grandparents house in Lorain, Ohio for Easter weekend....a 3 hour trek from our suburban Detroit home. We arrived on Thursday night at 9:30, my brother and I consumed the usual over teh top sanwich platter my Grandma would prepare for our arrival and headed off to bed. The next evening we all went to the Slovak Home in Lorain....which can best be described as a VFW hall kind of place with the atmosphere which you would expect from a place like this. They had a good fish fry according to the locals. We walked in teh place and immeiately the smell hits you....I love fish fries to this day and I could tell this one was going to be top notch. We went down a worn carpet staircase to reach the basement. From a sensory standpoint it could be described as uber smokey, loud, wood paneled and packed to the gills (pun somewhat intended) with mainly 40+ year old locals getting after it hard as you do when you see the words "all you can eat". We sat down at the checkerboard covered round table for 6 and I was just about to pick up a greasy dirty menu when I noticed it. A Donkey Kong. Holy cow....A Donkey Kong!!! Let me stop right here and mention that allthough we lived a non deprived childhood...my brother and I were yet to play a video game of any kind. Pathetic...I know...but what are you gonna do? I immediately shifted my attention from the glorious batter dipped golden heavenly fish to the electric joy of the light blue stand up arcade machine less than 20 feet from my clutches. I blurted it out without thinking like ralphie going for the Red Ryder..."can I have some quarters?"...before my parents could even look, my Grandma gave my brother and I 6 of them....oh baby it was on like....Donkey Kong! I being the oldest went first....the first video game I ever played! I was just happy to be there...taking it all in....and the game went predictibly. Turn 1 - I watched in amazement as Kong ascended the building with his hostage....the graphics made my jaw drop. I took some steps got stuck on a ladder and got hit by a barrel. Turn 2 - this time I got up to the second floor and a really poorly timed jump caused my demise. Turn 3 - OK...I have the hang of this thing...I made my first successful barrel jum and then my second...got to the middle somewhere when fate dropped one on my head. GAME OVER. But I was hooked. Although my brother...only 7 at the time had no success, I, on my last game of the night, cleared level 1!.....And the fish was great


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