builds up slow.
advertisement – a man in an idiot hat at four am.
12-foot screen in Boston.
boxes. cords. concrete.
first time I can’t be at PAX.
first time I can’t touch Videoball.
and I am slow. and I am unfocused.
this is a pilgrimage now.
and I am unable to be a part of it.
cuts deeper than I expect. I stare at my phone.
pictures cascade. I know that convention hall.
I know that ceiling.
I’ve wondered beneath it too many times to ever forget, eyes up drowned exhausted in noise.
in so much boredom. in so much peace.
I grind my fingers on my desk my brown skin yellow in this awful place.
I put my head down on the edge. flex my toes.
whisper – it meant everything…
tears well up.
Videoball and Tim and Action Button and it means something.
the first time.
that first time
Videoball is a spine transplant.
the second time
Videoball is a transference of will.
creative aggression crafted in the eyes of Ichijoji Temple.
unwavering. sharp. full of vision.
Videoball and Action Button.
I pull my face up. I squint. oblivion sunlight blares down outside.
I am terrified of blue sky. I am afraid of its indifference.
there is no comfort in it. no joy or gentleness.
and in this moment I am no better. I am the worst version of myself.
I dig back into my phone. I can’t work.
I keep checking bent over in strained prayer.
hot pain shrieking down my neck.
Iron Galaxy posts a stream link.
I go in.
people shuffling around. bland electronic music.
Videoball neon colors flash one of the screens.
I imagine myself glowing in it.
stream schedule. Videoball next.
I smile for the first time. I watch the chat.
everyone asks about Killer Instinct.
played the original in a greasy casino arcade in Vegas.
an intricate grime machine of a game.
that KI made it to 2016 is a miracle.
I drift to Primal Rage, playing Mortal Kombat on my game gear in fourth grade.
mics pop. hiss.
eyes wide I want to cry or scream I don’t know.
a luxury sorbet shop of colors.
brighter. colder. darker.
player triangles streak across the screen in hard fury.
balls bounce around the courts.
I go back to the chat. still Killer Instinct.
they are angry missing the morning KI stream.
some attack Iron Galaxy. some call for Videoball to be cut off.
no respect or decency here.
I love fighting games. I love the community.
this is the FGC at its worst.
this is games at their worst.
I send off some comments. I go back to the video.
balls have decals now. identities.
completed their evolution into targets.
courts have lines and panels now.
soft texture unraveled and meticulous.
the game is in bloom. it’s grown again.
people score. it pops still.
goal ‘freeze’ has been extended.
first year – the raw elegance of its design.
second year – the cohesive extension of its bones.
third year – building spires of starlight around its mind.
Friday. Saturday. I stay near it.
I seep inside it. my dread dissipates for awhile.
Sunday I run errands with my wife.
we shop for baby clothes.
I check my Twitter feed.
Videoball is the final game of PAX Omegathon.
it deserves this.
Action Button deserves this.
from Tim standing alone yelling three days straight about his game with a now-defunct publisher to Videoball being projected all over the world in fierce competition.
this is important.
Videoball is important
imbued with the ultimate apathy of a sleeping god:
unconstrained. overwhelming. introspective. dense.
it knows what it is.
its confidence is infectious.
I have grown with the game.
I have grown because of it.
in an industry that still falls so short in all respects, Videoball eclipses the constant, bloated rot swaying around it.
futile to ignore.
impossible to walk away from.
it releases this year.
try to know yourself through it.
you will emerge whole and simple and clean.
the best anyone can ask for anymore.