Well you can keep yo man, cuz I don’t go that route.

A buddy of mine asked me if I was going to buy a Wii when Super Smash Brothers comes out.

You’re insane, I said. That game’s gonna be the downfall of Western Civilization. An obscenity.

Come on, he replied. It’s got Mario and Luigi and Pikachu for Christsake. It’s a harmless kid’s game. A fun as hell harmless kid’s game.

He really has no idea.

In my experience, there’s some kind of immutable inverse correlation between how violent a video game is and how violent its players become. Psychologically it makes no sense, but I’ve seen it in action, time and time again.

Eight of us sitting around playing rogue spear in the dorms. I blow Brian’s head off at 300 yards with a sniper rifle. His lifeless body crumples, a fine, bloody mist filling the air where his face used to be.

“Gotcha!” I shout down the hall, goodnaturedly.

My screen goes orange. Dustin just vaporized me with a grenade. Gooey bits of bone and entrail slide down the wall, leaving trails like little red slugs.

Seconds later, he’s outside my door doing a little victory dance before running back to his room.

Gory death after gory death, we tease each other mildly. God knows how many hours I spent sneaking up behind Peter with a Desert Eagle, eager to turn his ass into bloody compost. But nobody got hurt, you know? It was all in good fun.

Good clean fun, massacring each other in cold blood till dawn.

The other end of the spectrum, though… God.

The horrors I’ve witnessed during late-night sessions of Mario Kart… unspeakable. Mild-mannered, decent men, turned into beasts, shouting and cursing at each other. There’s something about those adorable little Italians riding around on cutesy rainbow tracks that just puts fucking murder in your heart.

The vulgarities I’ve heard, I… I am not timid when it comes to the profane, but even I can not bare to repeat some of the shit that I’ve heard. It starts off slow, with comments about each other’s manhood and sexual preferences… pretty run of the mill. It escalates to threats of death and rape and ethnic cleansing. Next thing you know, you’ve just lost five races in a row to King Koopa and you’re locked in the bathroom with George’s due-tomorrow physics lab report, trying desperately to unzip and piss all over it before he can kick the door down.

Shit like that happens, you know? You can’t help it.

And Mario Kart isn’t HALF the catalyst Smash Brothers is when it comes to this aggressive behavior.

I distinctly remember visiting the Johnson house one time right after they bought a Gamecube. I walked in the door and there’s Paul, the cord from his controller wrapped around poor Kevin’s neck, strangling the hell out of him. He’d wrestled Kevin’s face down into the couch and had both knees on his back. Kind-hearted, cherubic Paul, Paul who called his mom at least once a week, Paul who couldn’t bring himself to squish a spider, was grinning like Charles Manson and literally choking the life out of Kevin.

“You smell like a Jew.” He hissed through his teeth into Kevin’s ear.
“You hear me, you shit? You smell like a Jew. And now you’re gonna die.”

Miraculously, Chris and I managed to pull Paul off before Kevin suffered any permanent damage, aside from a gnarly scar on his trachea and a small dent in his Adam’s apple.

We tied Paul up to the dishwasher with zip ties while we debated calling the police. In between bouts of crying and moaning, all Paul would say was “He kept picking Kirby. I hate Kirby.”

Such ugliness over a child’s game, man. I can’t explain the phenomenon, I can only testify to its existence and hope you people take care. Brian, armed with a pellet gun and a nine iron, chasing me into the street at four AM just because I’m unstoppable with Samus is something you remember for the rest of your life.



Also, I’m writing a letter to Ralph Nader regarding his entrance into the presidential fray. So far all I have is:

“Dear Mr. Nader,

What the fuck?

Trevor Gregg”

Too wordy?



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