Retrograding 07.17.03

Hey gang. Bottom line is this. I broke up with the love of my life back in the UK Tuesday night, appear to be on my way to my third published book, and life is just totally up-f*cked right now. Thankfully all the columns this week are just glorified mailbag editions, eh? But very popular ones as I weeded through TWO HUNDRED entries to give you the best (and the worst) that you sent in. And I wasn’t joking in the teaser. This is only part 1…

Before we begin, I thought I’d just share this lovely email from Staff member Lee Baxley.

Great interview Alex. And just so you know, I am
going to participate, AND WIN!!! I don’t know what
game you’ll be giving away, but I’m all for a free
game (unless it’s something I already have, but then I
can give it to my brother or something). I’ve already
got a good idea in mind, so here’s my address so you
can get that package ready:
Lee Baxley
Broken Arrow, OK XXXXX

Cocky bastard, ain’t I? Seriously though, if it is
open to 411 Staffers, then I’m all for it. I’ve got
some good ideas for it so I think it’ll be fun. One
question though, when does the contest end? I’m gonna
try to do my part tonight, but I may have to wait till
sometime next week, since I’m going out of town
tomorrow and won’t be back till monday. Anyway, good
column as usual. :)


We’ll all see Lee’s entry later on, along with a few other staff members, so you can judge if you think he won. Plus now everyone has his home town, so they can drive by and flock to him like groupies.

What’s most interesting is how many of you interpreted me from just my Retrograding columns. A few of you who are either psychotic, or just that good at researching found out I’m a lot more than a video game nut and added some real life bio stuff into their characters. But I found those to be almost too stalky so I’m not including any of them here. But I was surprised how many people assumed I was a typical gamer geek. Here’s a hint: Three black belts, barred from MN amateur wrestling competition due my use of the Tiger Driver (hey I was a BIG Satoru Sayama fan growing up), and although he may do the art for that shitty Final Fantasy series, Yoshitako Amano and writer Hideyuki Kikuchi have taken great delight and have engaged in amusing’ practical jokes on my behalf due to my physical resemblance to their most famous of creations. Except my hand doesn’t contain a creepy wise cracking parasite.

That’s enough personal shit from me. But it’s just a nice reminder to myself, all my readers and everyone else how easily one can be stereotyped simply for having a very strong passion for a bit of pop culture.

I decided the first one I would showcase is an entry from JAMES JOHNSON. Because it is so very very long. Three emails long! James went to a hell of a lot of work here and he deserves to be the measuring stick.

Dear Alexander Lucard,

I would first make your worker status a manager. Why? I would have you as a non-wrestler, being that you legitimately don’t wrestle, but as a manager, you can be used as a pawn in bigger angles with wrestlers, who can wrestle and score big percentages on their matches.

I would give you 10 for brawling, cause I am sure you can throw a punch, but not a good one. Speed 30, I bet you can run if a wrestler threatened you for burrying him in a report. I would give you 10 for technical, because that gives you the technical ability for the motor function to type! Stiffness, for the gimmick I will make you have, your stiffness will be 19. Too weak to do any damage. Selling 94, because when you get punched I want you to fly and bump like mad for the gimmick you will have. Overness, you will start at 10, because you are an Internet reporter that prevents you from being just a schmo with 0. Your charisma, because your really charasmatic and I need you as a manager, it will be 63. Your attitude will be 70, because as much as you look at wrestling, you have never been in the ring to experience it. Behaviour at 85, because your not worse than Scott Hall, but your not as behaved as Chris Benoit.

High spots? Yes, definately, you would do anything to be a part of wrestling. American, no, because your not. Fonz Factor, ofcourse, with a cool name like Lucard. Superstar look, no, sorry not for the gimmick I need you in. Diva, I don’t think your gay, so your not a Diva. Menacing, definately yes! Why? Because your last name is Lucard and thats almost Dracula spelled backward. Announcer, yes, because you write reports, I am sure you can talk the play by play. Booker, no, just because you think you can play EWR doesn’t make you a booker. Trainer, definately not, you need to be trained yourself!

Your Primary Finish will be the “Inter-Net,” a fisherman’s buster, and your secondary finish will be the “847.” A low brow maniver that takes your balled up fist and swings it at your opponent’s head!

You would be hired for $7000 a month, because your an unknown manager, so you get paid $5000, but you can do commentary which adds an extra $2000 a month.

I would hire you for NWA TNA, because my idea for your gimmick and angles would fit perfectly for NWA TNA, because they listen to the fans and value the Internet as a free demographic response system.

I would first make your gimmick an “internet mark” but that gimmick doesn’t work, so I would just have to make your gimmick “obsessed fan.” Using you as an obsessed fan, I could have you sit in the crowd for a month. The fans would think you are just a regular to seeing the action.

After a month of sitting in the crowd, there will be a brawl between Shark Boy and Julio Dinero outside the ring next to you. Eventually Mike Tennay will mention that Shark Boy and Julio Dinero are brawling on the outside next to the new NWA TNA web designer.

That will plant the seed that you have some significance to the NWA TNA product, your not just a regular. That will get people wondering what will happen with you.

Two weeks would go by with you still in the crowd, and no mention of you by the announcers, but on the third week later, you would be invited to do guest commentary on a Julio Dinero match.

You would fumble through the commentary, meanwhile Julio Deniro in the ring would pummel Paul London to no end. London would finally get the upper hand on Julio, but Julio would finish the match by hooking London’s tights in a small package. You would then tell the crowd your discust that Julio needed to pull the tights for the victory.

The next week, Julio would come to the ring saying that he watched his match from last week’s show, and heard your commentary. He would first point out what a dork you are for fumbling through the commentary (your not that over, or experienced). Eventually he will bring up how you were disgusted that he needed to hook the tights, Julio will respond by saying how he is “disgusted that some Internet mark does not know what its like being a wrestler and how difficult it is to make it in the business with straight up talent.”

Julio would then challenge you to lasting 30 seconds in the ring with him. You would refuse ofcourse, shaking you head “no” from the crowd. Julio would egg you on, before getting frustrated going to the outside and dragging you over the guard rail into the ring.

Security would jump all over Julio and you to stop him from beating you. Julio would throw the guards off of him, before giving you the No Brainer and laying you out. He would lay on you and do the pin count himself without a ref to a bunch of boos!

He would get up and take a microphone, saying “like I said before, wouldn’t even last 30 seconds with me.” Parametics would try to enter the ring, but Julio would scare them away. After that Joel & Jose Maximo will run to the ring, outnumbering Julio who will escape the ring, and slowly walk backward exiting the arena.

The next week, Julio Dinero would offer a challenge to the Maximos, Julio
and a mystery partner against them… but there is a catch… Julio’s
mystery partner is not able to wrestle this week, for the challenge is for
the following week. Most people will then assume his mystery partner is
Raven, or Alexis Laree, being that on the current week of NWA TNA, Raven
will be busy with bigger business, but he is free the following week. After
the Julio makes the challenge, the Maximos will enter the arena, with
yourself following behind them, and your wearing a biking helmet (not a
motorcycle helmet). What’s this? Lucard has a microphone, god he’s going to
burry this segment driving the buy rate for NWA TNA down! Mike Tennay begins
to wonder why you have an affiliation with the Maximos, to which Don West
replies, “yes Mike thats more crazy than Mortimer Plumbtree managing the
Johnsons.” Then Mike Tennay brings up the real question… “why is Lucard
wearing a crash helmet?”

You tell Julio that the Maximos have accepted the challenge, with both the
Maximos shaking their head “oh yeah, thats right.” Then you make a challenge
yourself. The challenge is because Julio came out to run his mouth, and he
is still out there, so why not have a one on one match with Jose Maximo?
Julio accepts with an extra condition, Joel must leave the ringside area.
You agree for the Maximos, and Joel is sent backstage, but your allowed to
do guest commentary.

While doing guest commentary Don West asks you why your wearing a helmet,
and you respond so Julio cannot do the No Brainer to you. Mike Tennay brings
up your error in logic, saying he can still do the move, and he doesn’t
think the helmet will help you much. In the ring, Julio goes over Jose,
because Julio is a singles wrestler, and Jose is a tag. Its still a hot
match in the ring, but your doing guest commentary detracts from it. After
the match, Julio goes outside the ring to the commentation table and talks
smack with you, before he takes a swing at you, knocking your headset off.
He drags you into the ring, and again gives you the No Brainer, but this
time, the fans cheer it, because your wearing a helmet! Joel runs to the
ring to make the hot save, causing Julio to run away saying to the camera,
“next week it will be worse.” Parametics come to the ring, take the helmet
off you and put you on the stretcher again.

The following week, the show of the big mystery partner tag match, before
the tag match itself, Goldylocks has an interview with the head paramedic at
NWA: TNA. The head paramedic is none other than Tyler Vaughn doing a cameo.
She poorly explains to Goldylocks and the camera that you are in serious
condition after taking the No Brainer from Julio. Tyler tells the camera how
its rare for a move like the No Brainer to do serious damage, but because
Mr. Lucard was wearing a helmet, it was like falling head first onto a rock.
Needless to say Lucard will be gone for quite some time.

Then the mystery partner tag match happens, Julio’s mystery partner is…
Justin Credible. The crowd is totally blanded by the match, despite hot
action in the ring, Jose gets the victory over Justin, but Justin and Julio
get their revenge, clearing the ring, then Julio brags and laughs about
smashing your skull into dust, before bringing up how if he ever comes back
to the ring he will need a suit of armor.

Weeks go by with NWA TNA playing clips of the helmeted Brain Buster, along
with Julio never doing the No Brainer again… that way it gets sold as a
crippling move if it is only used to injure people. Finally there will be a
“coincidental” rebooking of Credible & Julio vs the Maximos, and Credible
will brawl outside the ring with Jose, until Credible finds a chair and
beats him with a chair until he is covered in more crimson than the Amazing
Red. This will allow Julio to get a pinfall over Joel. After the match,
Julio will get on the microphone and brag how he has victories over both
Maximos, so NWA TNA should never book him against them again… Julio will
bring up how he knows NWA TNA will continue to book him against the Maximos,
so Julio says he needs to do something “drastic.” Julio picks up Joel, and
is about to set him up for the No Brainer.

The lights go out before he does the No Brainer, the lights come on, its you
with a bat! The fans cheer, because they would have cheered a stone if the
lights go out and come back on and the stone was there! Julio drops Joel
when you take a swing at Julio, both Julio and Justin escape the ring
unharmed, because if a manager harms the wrestlers, that makes them look

The following week, your back in the crowd just watching the action, but
eventually Jeremy Borash wanders over with a camera to ask how your doing,
and if you will continue your affiliation with Jose & Joel or go back to the
web stuff. You ofcourse say you will stick to the Internet, but you now have
a lot more respect for wrestlers. Your participation seems done in NWA TNA.

Three months go by with you still in the crowd occassionally doing guest
commentary and getting better at it, your overness is at a whole 30 points
now, so people can tollerate you. No incidences go by, any mention of Julio
will have you saying “I don’t want to go there Tennay.” Your probablly in
the promotion for just about six months now, your contract is running up.

On the final week before your six month contract expires, Don West is
abscent with the flu, hangover or STD, so you are made to do commentary with
Tennay all NWA TNA. Halfway throughout the show, Julio will wander out to
the ringside, not to do an interview or smack you around, but he sits right
next to you, takes a headset, puts it on and says, I am doing guest
commentary for this next match. Its the Maximos vs Sandman & New Jack, Joel
goes over New Jack clean. After the pinfall, the camera cuts to the
commentation table with Julio asking, who are the Maximos, if they can go
over Sandman & New Jack, why aren’t they at the top of the card? Because
they are boring and bland, thats why Tennay. Julio also says that three
months ago, he should have No Brainered Joel to end his career, then to Jose
do the same thing. With the camera still on the comentation table, Julio
wonders what stopped him, then he remembers, turns to you, and slugs you
while sitting.

He drags you away from the table, and its on, Jose & Joel try to make the
save, but are stopped by Sandman & New Jack who begin brawling with them,
Julio drags you into the ring, and its a six man brawl, but your side is not
winning, infact your getting your ass handed to you. Alexis Laree runs to
the ring with handcuffs and gives them to Sandman & New Jack. who handcuff
the Maximos to the corners of the ring. Tennay wonders if anyone can stop
this assault, from the back, five security jobbers get sent out (there will
be a faction called security jobbers), it looks like too much for Sandman &
New Jack to hold off, so Saturn & Credible enter the arena as well and
security guys are laid out in the isles, Maximos handcuffed, Alexis Laree,
shoves a folded chair into the ring.

Julio sets you up for the No Brainer, straight onto the chair, you just lay
there dead, you won’t even let Julio pick you up, because its tough to work
with a person thats supposedly dead. So Julio picks you up the hard way, all
muscle. Sets you up for a gut wrench suplex, but throws you in the air and
catches you in a No Brainer onto the chair. After the second one, Julio gets
on the microphone and says, “now that I’m done with you, you won’t even be
able to type, you will be paralyzed from the neck down.” NWA TNA cuts to a
vignyette of the main event match, while the ring is cleared of bodies,
handcuffs and chairs.

That should be the end of your six month saga, but I still have one more
part, that totally goes great with your newest injury.
Sorry about all the reading.

Since your severe beating by Julio and the expiration of your six month verbal deal (I signed you to a verbal deal to see if you were worth the $7000), it has been two and a half years? Why so long? The fans think your dead or crippled, but you have secretly been doing something.

A total of three years have past since the start of the game, lots of things have changed. Jeff Jarrett retired, because I put the heavyweight strap on AJ Styles, Raven is sitting out his contract, because of a botched feud, Sandman, New Jack & Saturn are gone, due to “issues.” Sharkboy is a top face, even having his own faction “the school.”. Jose currently has a neck injury and is out for 13 months, so Joel is paired as a heel tag team with Siaki. After not renegotiating his contract to go on tour with his rock band, Chris Jericho ended up in NWA TNA. Ring Of Honor, WWE, MLW, and NWA TNA are all global competitors, so only the best talent remains, and the best is not enough, so the first crop of talent is ready. As for Julio, he was not one of the best. I did not renegotiate his contract, his talent is not up to par with the rest.

Shark Boy and his “school” are currently having problems with Ron Killings and his “killings crew”. The school consists of fresh faced graduates of the two year training camp, and the Killings Crew has the heels from the two years of training camp. Its something for each of the graduates to get into wrestling, being that I hired every young free agent into NWA TNA’s Training Camp “Lynn Lockup.” Oh yeah, Lynn became a trainer…

The main event of a NWA TNA on UPN was set, a simple eight man tag, with Ron Killings and the Killings Crew vs Shark Boy and the masked men of the School. The match was simple, one of the Killings Crew went over Shark Jobber #2, by way of cheating, then the school had its revenge, chasing the Killings Crew out of the ring.

The next week, Ron Killings stated his group is flat out better than anyone from the school. Then stated they do not show their faces because they were ashamed to be a part of the Shark Boy. Naturally Shark Boy and his school entered the arena with their traditional 2 minutes of pyro + pinwheels. The School and the Crew had a stand off in the ring, before Sharkboy picked up a microphone and issued a unique challenge. To prove which stable is better, over the next four weeks, there will be a round robin style tournament, where every member of the school will take on every member of the crew in singles matches for points, and the faction with the most points will prove its superiority. Killings agrees, and there is an eight man brawl in the ring, before security and commissioner Mike Tennay restore order.

Four weeks go by, building up to the finals of the round robin tournament, Shark Jobber #1 vs Crew Member #1, Shark Jobber #2 vs Crew Member #2, Shark Jobber #3 vs Crew Member #3 and Killings vs Sharkboy. After Sharkboy went over Killings, all the matches were done, the score was tied 8 to 8, nothing had been solved, but then Killings took the microphone and suggested because the Killings Crew won the original eight man tag, that was the tie breaker, the crew is the best faction.

Sharkboy disagreed, and the brawl was on, but before it could go too far commissioner Mike Tennay came to the ring with a solution, at next Week’s Pay Per View, “Into the Void,” there will be a tie breaking match. An eight man elimanation match, for each victory a team mate gets, thats a point added, so there was no way for a tie. Sharkboy agreed to it immediately, Killings an idea to make it more interesting for his faction. To completely destroy the school, for each Shark Jobber that lost, they would be perminantly unmasked. Shark Boy reluctantly agrees to the terms, so now the match is on for “Into the Void.”

At Into The Void, Shark Jobber #1, then #2 were pinned, both of them unmasking as total unknowns from the training camp / developmental territory. Then Crew members #1, #2, then #3 were pinned, leaving Killings alone. Killings got the clean victory over Shark Jobber #3, then went to unmask him. He unmasks the third Shark Jobber reavealing… Another Mask? Yes, another mask, to which Shark Boy capitolizes by rolling up Ron Killings, for the School victory. While Shark Jobber #3 runs to the locker room in his second mask. The faction stays together.

The next night on NWA TNA on UPN, it starts off with Shark Boy, Shark Jobber #1, lets call him Layne Johnson, Shark Jobber #2, lets call him Mike Tunney and a still masked Shark Jobber #3. Killings is furious backstage the school has not broken up, and Shark Jobber #3 is still masked despite losing. Killings talks with Mike Tennay, who issues a punnishment over the mega screen. If Shark Jobber #3 does not unmask, he is suspended for a month, after which time he will be given the choice again.

The next week, there is Shark Jobber #3 in the crowd, still masked, watching the action from five rows back, trying not to be seen, holding up his sign “Bring Back Shark Jobber #3.” Another week goes by, with Shark Jobber #3 in the crowd, Killings finally spots him, and recommends Mike Tennay have security kick him out. Tennay ofcourse says there is nothing he can do, because he must have bought a ticket, even if he is suspended. During the third week of Shark Jobber #3’s suspension, the Killings Crew without Ron Killings points out Shark Jobber and chase him away from the crowd out of the arena, threatening to rip off his mask.

Upon the one month suspension of Shark Jobber #3, Mike Tennay calls Jobber #3 into his office and asks him again to take off his mask or be suspended without pay. Shark jobber #3 says he will not take off his mask, but before Mike Tennay could bang his gavel making his judgement to suspend Shark Jobber #3, Ron Killings burst into the room telling Mike not to suspend him. Why Tennay should not suspend him? Because Killings demands a match with Shark Jobber, where Killings vows to tear the mask off him during the match. Tennay says wonderful idea, but if he wins or loses without Killings pulling off the mask, he is still suspended, unless he removes the mask. Tenay makes the match for the upcoming Pay Per View, “Against All Odds.” Killings chases Shark Jobber out of the office trying to grab the fin ontop of his mask.

Against All Odds comes, with a no win situation for Shark Jobber #3, during the match, it scores somewhere in the 72% range, because despite the amazing experienced talent of Ron Killings and the fresh talent of Shark Jobber #3 scoring 93% for match quality, the crowd did not respond well to a three month rookie and a main event heel, especially knowing that no matter what Shark Jobber #3 is losing his mask, so the crowd reaction was %51. During the match, when Shark Jobber #3 looked to have won with a fisherman’s buster, the Killings Crew ran to the ring and distracted the referee. Soon came Layne Johnson and Mike Tunney to brawl with three members of the Crew. Upon brawling with them to the back, out came Shark Boy to help. He helped Shark Jobber #3 get the victory, but after the victory Mike Tennay appeared on the mega screen, giving Shark Jobber #3 his choice again. Shark Jobber #3 said he would unmask, but only if Shark Boy would unmask him. Shark Boy enters the ring to unmask the jobber, but instead the jobber clocks him with a balled up fist. After that, Shark Jobber #3 unmasks himself and throws the mask at Shark Boy, saying your tired of being his pawn and you did not spend two years training and six months in the developmental territory just to be hidden under a mask and stuck with a comedy character and his jobbers. Then you tell Tennay, Killings and Sharkboy, if your going to be unmasked, it will be on your own terms and not with two other Shark Jobbers.

Don West & new announcer Emilio Amichi cant believe what they see. Its the Internet mark from three years ago, Don West thought that with the expertise from medical staff Tyler Vaughn, you were never going to return. Killings takes your microphone from you, and you both have a mini stand off, before Killings says, that you have some mad pizaz and now that you have a face with your anger. This match was just business, now that its done, you will go your separate ways.

After all of that stalling with the Shark Boy story, I think there could be a part four, as for two years in training, I keep everyone in the training school for two or three years, that way they come out 100 brawling, speed & technical monsters.

Holy crap. A part FOUR? The first three parts took up nearly the entire column! But still, it’s an excellent start and a good showcase of what kind of sick twisted hell so many of you put me through!

This was just a taste of what to expect people. This weekend, it’s the other 9 of the top ten. And thankfully, each of them combined is as long as this one. :-P

But as a little thank you for reading just this one gigantic entry, here’s something from popular 411 guest columnist, Charles Pratt!

Thanks for the kind words once again. I’m beginning work on my next project and I *gasp* need the help of you and your readers. My goal is to start a twelve step program to reignite my love of video gaming. I have already discontinued my reading of video game magazines, played through Golden Sun, and started Tactics Ogre for the PS. I’m planning on buying Guardian Heroes next for my Japanese Saturn and after that… well, that’s were the Retrograding crew comes in. At this point my list looks like this:
1. Golden Sun
2. Tactics Ogre
3. Guardian Heroes
4. ?

My goal is to have a list of 9 more games, from you and the readers, for me to acquire and play. As I spend a week or two with each game, I’ll write up my experiences with it and my attempts to move my way through the list. My only ground rules are that the games are for systems I have (Sega Genesis, American, Super Nintendo, Japanese or American, Sega Saturn, Japanese, Sega Dreamcast, American or bootdiscable, Sony Playstation, American or bootdiscable, Neo Geo Pocket Color, any, Gameboy Advance, any, Gamecube, American), doesn’t require much more Japanese than GameFAQs can get me through, and is under $70. So please, unless it’s being donated, leave off Radiant Silvergun, Rakugaki Showtime, or any other big time rare/expensive title. All genres are cool with me and any help finding copies is great. I am completely open to any game that will reignite my love of the games.
For my part, that means that I will play each and every game that makes the list for around two weeks, attempt to beat it, and add it to my collection. A write up, a list of collaborators, and hopefully a letter response will be written each week.
On another note, Evanescence is soooo bad. There, I got it out of my system. Oh, and I dig girls with librarian glasses and hairdos to Goth girls. Until I get around to it again,

What more do you need people! Help a man out!

I know my choices for Chuck are:
4. Sakura Wars (Sega Saturn, Japanese)
5. Vampire Chronicles (Dreamcast, Japanese)
6. Thousand Arms (PSX, USA)
7. Shadowrun (Genesis, USA)
8. Capcom vs SNK: Cardfighter’s Clash (NGPC)
9. Shining Force 2 (Genesis, American)
10. Animal Crossing (Gamecube American)
11. Hell Night (PSX, USA)
12. Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (PSX, USA)

Like I said, help the man out! I’ll see you this weekend!