In 1989 I entered and won a local Arcade competition for a video rental chain. It was a two-week competition, three different age groups were competing, and the first week's selection for my category was Double Dragon II, luckily I owned this game and was well prepared with a couple of hours 'training'. We only had five minutes to score as much as we possibly could.
I found out the game by calling, something they caught on to by the second week, and when it was time to compete I came prepared...with my trench coat, fedora, and Walkman. No ordinary music would hold me steady and firm as I stood shoulder to shoulder with my peers...it had to be something with a beat, something that would drown out all of the movement around me as other gamers played. Something like the Chipmunks Adventure soundtrack. Laugh now but I more than tripled the other players score with the hard rockin' beats of The Girls and Boys of Rock and Roll blasting in my ears. What can I say...we all have strange muses.
The second week they would not give me the info on the game to be played and I had to...bend... the rules a little. I saw we were playing Codename: Viper, a game incredibly similar to Rolling Thunder. I had not really played this game much though...so I had to feign an illness. My father talked the manager of the store into letting me come back in a couple of hours so we then immediately headed to Movie Magic to rent it. A couple of hours later and I was set to 'bring the thunder' to Codename: Viper.
When all was said and done I cleaned the competition and received a trophy for my 'skill' and was invited to the state competition in Little Rock. This was a pretty big thing for me and I was walking on Cloud Nine. The next Saturday, my father and Grandmother, drove me to the big competition and it was kind of impressive. Probably about fifty kids of varying ages were there to bag the big prizes. I had my eyes set on the $500 Kay*Bee gift certificate as well as the new television, it was a rear projection model.
My Grandmother and I noticed something odd real quick during the first couple of players competing. In the three age categories after one of the players had finished, and this time you played until you lost, they would insert a new game cartridge. So no one played the same game...which kind of defeats the points scored being the deciding factor for the competition.
I wasn't sweating it too much though because I felt comfortable enough with the various NES games to be confident in my abilities. Assuming they didn't try to get me to play Tetris. We were there about three hours when I noticed two other teenage boys around my age and after chatting a bit I realized we were the third category and none of us had played yet.
Finally all three of our last names were called and as we sat down at the podiums I looked at the screen before me and then stood up and shook my head as I looked at my father and Grandmother. Tetris. Of all the games that would doom my chances at that television and gift certificate...
So I played as best I could which wasn't very well, I don't think I even made it three minutes, as I was leaving the podium I took a moment to glance over at my fellow players. They were playing Sky Kid and Bubble Bobble.
At the end of the day since there were only three in our division we at least all received a prize. I got a handshake and the Konami Laserstorm headset pictured above...which I was excited about at first because...well...look at it. That was some serious future of gameplaying right there. You told it to do something and your NES game character would do it! Of course it only worked on certain games...like only one...Laser Invasion. It didn't matter if you said 'Fire!' or 'Poopsmith!' it would still fire at whatever you had aimed up with the scope.
It's real use would come in later when I started making 'movies'.