Video Game Mania 9: The Competitors

George - 2ND PLACE
8 points (6 multi, 2 single) - #8 seed
Sixth VGM appearance
George knocked on the door a full half-hour before the event, but his premature arrival was not surprising. For the first time ever he was a defending champion. Much like a ninja warrior, George employed equal parts skill and cunning during the competition. After a fast start in the head-to-head games he knew he would qualify for the playoffs by a comfortable margin. He then abstained from many single-player games in order to conserve his strength for the final stretch. Some experts even speculated that George purposely earned the lowest seed (#8)! If he was going for dramatic effect, well, it worked! He demonlished the #1 seed (Steve) and then literally dismantled the #5 seed (Brent). His driving ability was so surgically precise in Indy 500 (the playoff game), he had to be tested for steroids by the VGM team of doctors. George's amazing run didn't end until the finals. Despite claiming the ice track was "a lot easier than he expected", he could not keep up with Scott and gracefully relinquished his crown (and then keyed Scott's car).

Hawk
20 points (12 single, 8 multi) - #2 seed
Fourth VGM appearance
Also known to readers of the site as the "now-you-see-him-now-you-don't-RPG-critic", Mr. Hawk arrived on the scene in straight-up gangsta mode. He relentlessly taunted opponents with his massive, first-place VGM7 trophy which he had dangling from a 14-karat gold chain around his neck! He further intimidated foes by blaring classic rap jams (like "Scenario" from Tribe Called Quest) from his cell phone. Hawk dominated in the category of trash talk and at one point was seen drinking beer out of his trophy! He talked the talk but couldn't walk the walk, making an early exit in the playoffs, falling to #7 seed (Eric).

Steve
22 points (22 single, 0 multi) - #1 seed
Sixth VGM appearance
With several VGM trophies already under his belt, Steve entered the tournament licking his chops like a great white shark in one of those Six Flags wave pools. He absolutely killed it in the single-player games, placing (top 3) in 9 of the 13 single-player events! That earned him a solid #1 seed. Unfortunately, in the first playoff round he ran into a human buzz-saw by the name of George. In fairness to Steve, George was probably the toughest #8 seed in the entire storied history of VGM. Steve was pretty annoyed about having to play Indy 500 in the first place, and this crushing defeat sent him into an unbridled rage not seen since Bill Bixby last transformed into the Incredible Hulk.

Brent
11 points (11 single, 0 multi) - #5 seed
First VGM appearance
Though inexperienced in the ways of VGM, Brent had a closely-guarded ace up his sleeve. As it turns out, Brent has expertise in real car racing that just so happens to transfer directly into video game skills. This would explain why he prevailed in the hotly-contested Sega Rally and made a serious run in the Indy 500 playoffs. Brent also developed an unhealthy obsession with the Vectrex system, which he played for hours on end - in vain as it turns out. Brent did finish first in Intellivision Atlantis, but paid the ultimate price for this accomplishment. After the tournament he was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with the first recorded case of Carpalepsy (a combination of Epilepsy and Carpal Tunnel). Brent bowed out in the second round of the playoffs, but not before defeating Nick and effectively dashing the young man's hopes and dreams forever.

Keith 0 points (0 single, 0 multi)
Seventh VGM appearance
Apparently Keith spread himself a little too thin during this year's competition, failing to score a single point. In his defense, he managed to inflict some serious damage to the scalloped potatoes and corn pudding. If only he could have dismantled his competition as well as he did the baked ham. Keith was bitter that Road Avenger (Sega CD) was not included in the competition, and sang its theme song over and over in protest. Keith's one noteworthy accomplishment came when he scored the world record for lowest score ever in Silent Scope (200 points).

Matt
1 point (1 single, 0 multi)
Second VGM appearance
Like Keith, Matt focused much of his efforts on the buffet. In full disclosure, I had promised Matt I would award him 3 points for eating the entire spiral-cut ham, but he left the bone untouched. Sorry, but a deal's a deal! Matt's lone point came from Stampede (Atari 2600) which was an oldie-but-goodie he fondly remembered from back in the day.

Levi
1 point (1 single, 0 multi)
First VGM appearance
Levi was seriously obsessed with Sega Rally, so I was glad he placed in the top three. What nobody knew was the Levi was a professional Street Fighter IV player who was unbeatable by anyone in the world, except for Chris. Despite the 1-in-5 billion odds, Chris just so happened to be present at this tournament. The battle between these two was like an immovable force meeting an unstoppable object. Chris emerged victorious in a clash they are still talking about to this day (right now, in fact). So impressed was Levi that he bought a poster of Chris assuming a distinctive Street Fighter pose. I own that too, only it's the shirtless version (hey - it was a gift).

Scott - 1ST PLACE - VGM9 CHAMPION
13 points (5 single, 8 multi) - #3 seed
Sixth VGM appearance
Proving to be the most versatile competitor of the tournament, and the best person in general (according to him), Scott (aka C64 Critic) continued the long-standing tradition of having a 4-seed-or-better win the championship. He also became the first person to repeat as a VGM champ, having previously won VGM4. Scott hates the Saturn (both the planet and game console) and frequently makes snide remarks about them both. He exhibited a killer instinct in the head-to-head events, but did not elude controversy! At the start of Mario Kart Wii Scott claimed he "didn't know what car he was", and requested a restart. Incidentally, Scott would go on to win that race in what Steve referred to as "the scandal that rocked VGM9". That win seemed to pave the way to the championship. In addition to being awarded the highly coveted first-place trophy, Scott's victory ensures him a spot on next season's Dancing with the Stars show.

Nick
13 points (4 single, 9 multi) - #4 seed
Second VGM appearance
By all accounts this was supposed to be Nick's year. Not only had he been doing two-a-day work-outs with his miniature thumb weights, but the odds makers in Vegas had him as a 3-1 favorite. He seemed to be positioned for greatness after pulling out a mind-blowing upset in Street Fighter IV and winning Silent Scope and Ninja Gaiden III by comfortable margins. So what happened? Well, the seeding was not kind to Nick in the Indy 500 playoff round. As it turns out, he was forced to race against Brent - a guy who has raced around the actual Indy 500 track! After being bounced from the playoffs, Nick plotted his revenge by challenging several of us in hockey during the aftermath. He racked up an impressive 6-0 record while bitterly lamenting the lack of hockey in VGM9.

Eric - THIRD PLACE
9 points (9 single, 0 multi) #7 seed
Third VGM Appearance
There are two types of people in this world - those raised by wolves, and those raised by people. But Eric stands alone. Legend has it that this young man was actually raised by an Odyssey 2 console! He arrived at VGM9 with another startling admission: he had been up until 5AM playing Bioshock Infinite! In general that's an admirable feat, but there were concerns the excessive gameplay might lead to exhaustion. Better safe than sorry, the VGM team of doctors ran clinical tests on Eric before the tournament. In a stunning diagnosis, the lead doctor characterized Eric's thumb as "being in optimal condition to administer a serious ass-kicking". Of the four real arcade games in the tournament, Eric placed top-3 in three of them. He also excelled in the arcade-perfect Playstation-emulated version of Galaga. Eric raised some serious eyebrows upon defeating a pumped-up but somewhat inebriated Hawkman in the playoffs. Despite losing to Scott in the semi-finals, Eric prevailed in the consolation round against Brent to secure third place and his first VGM trophy.

Mike
0 points (0 single, 0 multi)
Third VGM Appearance
Mike arrived lamenting the fact that he was totally shut out the last time he competed in VGM, which dates back to the previous century! Wow, I've been doing this for a while! True to form, Mike finished VGM9 by adding yet another goose egg to his collection. All is not lost however. Per official VGM rules, one more shutout will make him eligible for a set of complimentary steak knives. Mike also served as my sounding board so I could complain about deadbeats (who will go unnamed) who failed to show up like Jon, Tuan, and Bobby.

Chris S
10 points (6 single, 4 multi) #6 seed
2nd VGM Appearance
A crafty veteran schooled in all aspects of gaming, Chris made a startling guaranteed that he would walk away with not one, but all three VGM trophies. I had to inform Chris that this feat was not possible within the rules, and a police officer was stationed at the door in case he tried to make off with the trophies. Chris wound up placing in three of the four arcade machines, and snagged second place in Halo Reach. But just when he seemed to be gaining momentum, a critical misstep spelled his tragic downfall. Despite being the run-away favorite in Street Fighter IV, Chris tasted a devastating defeat at the hands of Nick. Dazed, demoralized, and bloated from pasta, Chris was subsequently bounced in the first round of the playoffs.

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