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Dakilazical avatar 5:59 PM on 05.26.2011
P2 Press Start: Earning the respect of my students through Smash Bros


I don't remember the Nintendo characters making Batman sound effects in this game


When I graduated from college with a degree in film and television production in 2001 I faced a post-dotcom economy in the gutter, especially in my hometown of Seattle. All of the film work had dried up with companies reluctant to produce commercials and corporate videos and investors wary to invest in feature films. The only work I could get was pulling cable for the Seattle Supersonics (R.I.P.) video crew and that hardly paid the bills. To make ends meet I took a day job as a daycare teacher. I figured it would be a breeze, I'd get to play with kids all day and could still work Sonics games at night. However, I quickly learned how a group of determined hooligans can disrupt a classroom and make my life a living hell.



My first few days at the daycare were pure bliss


When I first started all of the kids loved me. This honeymoon period lasted for about a week. While most of the kids were very sweet and obedient, there was a group of three older boys, probably around 11 or 12, whose hormones were kicking in and that caused them to be little punks. The first time I disciplined them they completely turned on me and devoted all of their energy to disrupting the class and testing me to see how far they could push me. I tried reasoning with these kids, I tried punishing them, I tried talking to their parents, nothing worked. I was getting incredibly frustrated because these three boys were taking all my attention away from the other kids, which isn't fair at all. At my wits end, I decided to turn to the last tool at my disposal: The Playstation 2.



This ad really makes me want to drop acid, I mean buy a Playstation 2


At the time I was sort of a hippie so I didn't want the kids to waste time in front of the tv playing videogames when they should be learning. That conviction was tossed aside when I discovered that videogames were the ultimate carrot to dangle in front of children. I promised the kids that if they behaved, did their homework, cleaned up, they could earn points to trade in for videogame time. This worked like a charm, especially with the juvenille delinquents who caused the most trouble. However, playing the Playstation 2 with the kids opened up a whole new problem I never anticipated: I was terrible at PS2 games and this made me an object of ridicule in the children's world.



SSX is way easier on controllers than 1080 for the N64


During college I double majored in Goldeneye and Smash Bros but I never played the PS2. The children, being freakishly good at games naturally, routinely wiped the floor with me when I tried to take them on in SSX or ATV Offroad Fury. I laughed it off but it really started to get under my skin when the 7 year old who pooped his pants was racking up million point combos and I could barely get my snowboarder to grind a rail without falling off. I'd tell them, "I am good at games, just not Playstation games. I'll beat you all at Smash Bros." They would laugh extra hard at me and say that they would destroy me at that game too. Luckily for me, fate would soon intervene and I would get my chance to test my Smash Bros skills against the young rapscallions.



This is what I imagine the scumbag who stole a PS2 from a daycare looks like


One Monday I arrived at work to discover that someone had broken in and stolen the Playstation 2. The children were devastated but not half as much as I was. The video games were the only form of control I had over them, without it my class would dissolve into dissaray. I managed to keep a reign on them for a week or so but soon the whippersnappers were back to their old tricks of mischief and defiance. Out of options I decided to bring my Nintendo 64 into the class and let the kids play it. They loved it, in fact the girls in the class spent more time playing Mario 64 than they ever did the PS2 games. I avoided playing any games with the kids for awhile, even though they challenged me to throw down with a little Kart or Smash action. While pretty confident in my abilities, I was rusty and the last thing I wanted to do was lose to them in these games too. It would cement my place as a sub-par gamer and relegate me to the lowest rung on their social ladder. Finally, after weeks of pressure I relented and set up a Smash Bros tournament with the kids.



I spent more time in college staring at this screen than any text book


The day of the Smash Bros tournament arrived. Choosing Link as my main I took all comers and beat them easily. I mean, it wasn't even close. I don't know why I was even worried. Kids may be naturally great at games but they didn't factor in going up against a guy who spent 4 years living with super competitive roomates whose game of choice was Smash Bros. I plowed through the field and the 3 troublemakers who had become the bane of my existence also kept winning in their brackets. As fate would have it, I ended up facing off against those hellions in the finals. Without breaking a sweat I eliminated them one by one until I triumped. Exhilarated, I just laughed as they whined and complained and demanded a rematch. Fine, I said. In fact, I offered to take them all on, 3 on one in a fight to the death in a stock 5 battle. They tried every tactic in vain as I countered their fireballs with bombs, knocked them off with my boomerang, used my spin attack to clear the entire board. I am not exagerating when I say that I eliminated all 15 of their lives and didn't lose a single one myself.


Victory has never tasted so sweet


After a thorough drubbing, the boys had to admit that I was a better player than them. In fact their demeanor completely changed: I had entered their world and earned respect on their terms. They told stories of how good I was to other kids. They begged me to teach them my techniques. When they looked at me I could see the awe in their eyes. For the rest of the time I worked there I never had any trouble with these kids again. In all the years I've played games since, I've never had a competitive experience as completely satisfying as this Smash Bros tournament. And probably never will. Sometimes I wonder where those kids are today, hopefully the brief time I spent with them molded them into upstanding young men who went on to atttend college or at least graduate high school and get a job. Oh who am I kidding, I'm sure they're all dead or in jail right now.



Still one of the greatest commercials ever

 
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