Video Game Mania 8:
The Competitors

(in order of appearance)

Dave The Video Game Critic (Tournament host and official scorer)
What is the underlying reason that men are compelled to put everything on the line in a battle for video game supremacy? Free food and beer! I have to credit my trophy wife, Maggie, for putting together a buffet so massive that even if I invited Steven Seagal and Rosie O'Donnell (which I did briefly consider), there still would have been leftovers! I only wish I could say the same for my beer supply, which was completely decimated by the wretched drunks you are about to read about.

Below I have assembled a collection of mini-bios for all the competitors present at this year's event. As usual, I have embellished each of them to make these guys seem a lot more interesting than they actually are!


Hawk (#5 seed in playoffs)
Third VGM appearance
Total Points: 8 (all single-player)
Arriving early and flashing his gang signs, Hawk (AKA the RPG Critic) bore a heavy burden as reigning VGM champ. Clearly the pressure was too much, as he just barely made it into the playoff round. In the post-mortem he would confess to doing terrible in the multi-player games, with his only points coming from the single-player games. "I guess that just goes to show that I have a lot of practice playing with myself." To be fair, Hawk would have been a force to be reckoned with had their been an RPG portion of the competition.
First place finishes:

Second place finishes:
Chris
First VGM appearance
Total Points: 3 (all multi-player)
Despite being a VGM first-timer, Chris' extraordinary 2D fighting skills are well documented. He had high expectations but would later admit "The competition was a lot tougher than I expected." Chris did reign supreme in Street Fighter Alpha, edging out Nick in a battle that came down to the final blow. Chris inadvertently influenced the game selection this year by casually mentioning how "everyone loves Tecmo Bowl." I had already been considering that game, and his off-hand comment pushed me over the edge. It's ironic that Chris subsequentally sucked at Tecmo, costing him a playoff berth. Despite the lackluster performance, Chris has already declared he would return for VGM9 "with a vengeance like no mortal has ever seen".

First place finishes:


Shawn P (#8 seed in playoffs)
Fifth VGM appearance
Total Points: 4 (1 multi-player, 3 single-player)
Shawn was one of two people nice enough to haul a TV over my house for this event, but little did he know that this random act of kindness would catapult him into the playoffs! That's right, having the extra TV allowed me to set up Q*bert - a game Shawn would dominate! After winning, Shawn would look me in the eye and utter these profound words: "A world without Q*bert is one that I don't want to be a part of." Those words ring as true today as they did when spoken by Abraham Lincoln 100 years ago. And that, my friends, concludes the educational portion of the VGM8 site.

First place finishes:

Second place finishes:
Scott (#6 seed in playoffs)
Fifth VGM appearance
Total Points: 5 (2 multi-player, 3 single-player)
Scott hauled two large objects over to my house for this year's VGM. One was an old television, and the other was his son! That's right, Scott and Nick were the first father and son to participate in the same VGM. And as fate would have it, Scott was eliminated by Nick in the first round of the playoffs! Incidentally, Nick has since been grounded and lost all of his gaming priviledges, although Scott contends it has absolutely nothing to do with the VGM incident. Scott was also antagonized by Steve, who methodically followed him around from game to game, beating his scores by only the slightest margin. These acts of petty torment would send Scott into bouts of unbridled rage. Although his hopes for the playoffs were looking razor slim towards the end, Scott "found a way" by finishing strong in the final two head-to-head games: Ridge Racer 7 and Tecmo Super Bowl.

First place finishes:

Second place finishes:
Nick (#3 seed in playoffs)
First VGM appearance
Total Points: 8 (7 multi-player, 1 single-player)
For many years Nick had pleaded for the opportunity to participate in a "real live VGM", but his pleas fell of deaf ears. Why? Because the Video Game Critics drinks and curses like a [expletive] sailor, and young people don't need to hear that [expletive]! Now that Nick is 20 however, I know it's perfectly acceptable to unleash a torrent of obscenities in his prescence. Nick has bragged for years about being unbeatable in hockey games, and at VGM8 he backed up that claim. He even beat me in NHL 94, and I've been undefeated since like 1993 or something crazy like that. Nick's success with Dragon's Lair however can be chalked up to pure luck. Since so few players even bothered to scribble down their menial scores, Nick's paltry score of 15 netted him second place! Talk about opportunistic! Nick would go on to knock his father (Scott) out of the playoffs, and in the aftermath was heard shouting "Now I am the master" while attempting to hurl Scott down the bottomless shaft in the corner of my basement.

First place finishes:

Second place finishes:
Steve (#1 seed, THIRD PLACE OVERALL)
Fifth VGM appearance
Total Points: 15 (10 multi-player, 5 single-player)
Having amassed an impressive collection of VGM trophies over the years, Steve was by far the most cocky son of a [expletive] at VGM8. It's hard to argue with results however, especially since Steve racked up enough points to secure the coveted #1 seed in the playoffs. Also impressive is how his points were equally distributed between the multi and single-player games. Steve made one fatal error however, and that was selecting the Joker as his character for the second round of the playoffs (Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe). The Joker would repeatedly break into dance in the heat of battle, and each time Steve's opponent used the opportunity to beat him into a bloody pulp. Fortunately Steve salvaged the day by winning the consolation round (as Batman), which was good enough for the third-place trophy.
First place finishes: Second place finishes:
Joe
Second VGM appearance
Total Points: 3 (all single-player)
Joe decimated the competition in Metal Slug, but putting all of his eggs in one basket left him with no chance to make the playoffs. Joe retained a low profile at VGM8, and for good reason. Many people don't know this, but Joe is a part-time Ninja. His current mission is to hunt down and destroy the "boss" who killed his Sensei. Incidentally, that boss was not present at VGM8, so no violence was necessary. In his free time Joe enjoys collecting power-ups, hiding in shadows, and beating up regenerating henchmen. His pet peeves include spikes, bottomless pits, and bosses that take freakin' forever to kill.
First place finishes:
Mike
Fourth VGM appearance
Total Points: 4 (all single-player)
Mike was involved in a VGM controvery this year that was nearly catastrophic! After the playoffs were already underway, Mike discovered that I had accidentally awarded three of his first-place points to Steve! (it was the alcohol - I swear!). Fortunately, once everything was recalculated, the playoffs seeds remained unchanged, as Mike was left out in the cold in the #9 position. For the next VGM, Mike has vowed to bring his entire posse, composed mostly of thugs who have served hard time. "We'll do whatever it takes", Mike declared, "Even it means giving George the mother of all wedgies, which will leave him temporarily incapacitated - if he's lucky!"

First place finishes:

Second place finishes:
Dean (#4 seed in playoffs, SECOND PLACE OVERALL)
Second VGM appearance
Total Points: 8 (1 multi-player, 7 single-player)
Dean came out of nowhere this year, delivering strong performances in a number games to stake his claim to the second-place trophy. Dean had never received a trophy before, so when I handed it to him he was understandably confused and tried to drink beer out of it. I had to advise him it was not dishwasher-safe. You may recall that Dean was totally busted last year (along with Eric) in an elaborate VGM7 cheating scandal. This year Dean seemed to have cleaned up his act. Sure, he was seen tampering with George's controller during Winter Heat (when George was in the bathroom), but Dean explained that he was simply "making sure it was in proper working condition". It's that kind of sportsmanship that makes Dean a true American hero.
First place finishes: Second place finishes:
Mark (#7 seed in playoffs)
Second VGM appearance
Total Points: 5 (1 multi-player, 4 single-player)
Mark did what no one has ever done at a VGM before, and that is to drink his own weight in beer. He was also the only player to have even the vaguest clue about how to play Dragon's Lair. To put things into proper perspective, he scored over 500 points, and the second place finisher had 15! Mark was linked to a possible cheating scandal this year when he was caught scratching out Steve's high score from the Millipede score sheet - a savagely inhuman act that nearly triggered a full-scale riot. It's also worth noting is that Mark wore the exact same outfit as Dean. What a pair of homos!
First place finishes: Second place finishes:
George (#2 seed in playoffs, VGM8 CHAMPION)
Fifth VGM appearance
Total Points: 12 (10 multi-player, 2 single-player)
Despite being perpetually jeered about being "always a bridesmaid never a bride", George finally proved that he is in fact man enough to be an actual bride! A lot of things went George's way this year, and he even won Winter Heat despite of an inexplicable controller malfunction! He earned the cushy #2 seed, but the playoffs were anything but smooth sailing for George. It seemed like his back was against the wall in every round, and the bridesmaid chants grew ever-louder. After pulling off a miracle comeback in the finals, he literally leaped 8 feet into the air! Had I snapped a picture of that in time, the image would have been plastered across every major newspaper in the country the next day.

First place finishes:

Second place finishes:
Shawn N
Fifth VGM appearance
Total Points: 0 (skunked!)
As the competition was winding down I couldn't help but notice that Shawn was waving a lot of money in my face. Yes, we're talking about bribery here! Resisting those dead presidents took every ounce of my will, especially with that five-spot on the outside of the roll! In retrospect, bribery wasn't a bad move by the former VGM champ, considering he was totally blanked at VGM8. That's right, he scored zero (0) points!! No one actually witnessed Shawn leaving the event, but an open window was discovered in the bathroom. Apparently Shawn was so ashamed of his performance that he climbed through a window in order to escape public scrutiny. Should Shawn's wife catch wind of this monumental disaster, he'll be sleeping on the couch and taking cold showers for months to come! Just ask Eric, who went through a similar ordeal after VGM6.


Matt
Second VGM appearance
Total Points: 3 (all single-player)
Scott and Hawk had been vying for the Dragonfire high score for hours before Matt casually walked over and blew them both out of the water with a score than exceeded 10,000! Matt found a comfort zone in that game, but was unable to make inroads in many others. "If there were more Atari games I would have destroyed everyone," Matt boasted. I later harassed Matt for being the only guy to partake in the veggie dip. I had told my wife, "Maggie, these are burley, manly men! They thrive on raw meat - not vegetables!" When I caught Matt eating those veggies, I asked him if he normally exhibited homosexual tendencies. His reply, "only around you Dave" only served to reinforce my suspicions.

First place finishes:


Eric
Fourth VGM appearance
Total Points: 2 (1 multi-player, 1 single-player)
Eric wasn't exactly a force to be reckoned with at VGM8, but he did score a few points and he really seemed to enjoy the Wii Fit Skiing game. He totally smoked the competition in the first round, but got overconfident in the final round. By trying to pick up the pace (by leaning forward), he missed a series of gates in the process. Many people have claimed that Eric is the alter-ego of Raven's kicker Matt Stover, and come to think of it, I've never seen the two in the same room together! Very suspicious indeed.

Second place finishes:


Jon
Fifth VGM appearance
Total Points: 0
Saying Jon "appeared" at VGM8 is probably a bit of a stretch, considering he showed up too late to actually participate in the gala. He did however eat of a lot of the leftover food, so that was nice of him. Considering his lousy VGM track record, arriving late may have been a tactical move on Jon's part. Remarkably, his performance was still right on par with what he normally does.

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