Video Game Mania 4:
The Players

(in order of appearance)

Dave
VGM Moderator
Yes, I am the man responsible for all of this madness. Being somewhat fond of video games, I run a video game review web site called The Video Game Critic, and have amassed a sizeable collection of games (including full size arcade machines), prompting close friends to remark "Dave, you need professional help... No really, you do." 2004 ushered in the biggest and most competitive VGM yet. Punches were thrown, egos were bruised, and the house almost burnt down, but when all the smoke cleared, a new champion emerged - one champion to rule them all!


Maggie
VGM Caterer
My wife Maggie caters this annual event with a great deal of flair, but the festivities got off to a rather inauspicious start this year when she preheated the oven, not realizing it was filled with cake and rolls! Fortunately, the ever-alert Frank H spotted the fire and put it out before my house and video game collection could be burnt to a crisp. Later, I instructed Maggie to lace the chicken salad with a hallucinogenic drug with the sole purpose of making the Atari 2600 games look better. It didn't work as I planned, but it certainly had some bizarre effects. In particular, people thought that John S played "really well", and Mike F could not stop smiling.


Mike F
2nd VGM
2 points (2 multi/0 single)
One-on-one record: 5-4
The very first person to arrive, this early-bird showed up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Mike had finished second in last year's VGM3, and on this morning he had experienced several premonitions that led him to believe more success was on the way. First off, upon waking up he turned on the TV to see - you guessed it - a video game competition! Next, his daughter inexplicable begged him to play video games with her. Finally, on the way to my house, Mike pushed over an old lady and grabbed her purse, netting a cool $50 in the process. But all this positivity wasn't enough to fend off a bad case of sophmore jinx which left Mike with only two points and no chance to make the playoffs. And his only two points came on a very unlikely second place finish in Madden football.


George - 4th place
2nd VGM
5 points (0 multi/5 single) - #6 seed in playoffs
One-on-one record: 1-3
George was probably the most tenacious competitor at VGM4. Heck, he once killed a man in a video game competition - with a joystick! And this was his strongest VGM showing yet. While some attendees recoiled at the extreme level of competition present at this year's event, George relished even bit of it. Although too cheap to piss away his quarters in the arcade games, George concentrated on a group of single-player games and strategically elbowed his way into the playoffs. When all was said and done, he had the #1 score in Fortress of Narzod (Vectrex), and a pair of second place finishes in both BurgerTime (Colecovision) and Frogger (Genesis). Later, during the Boxing finals, George would show his softer side by serving as bikini girl, parading around with the round number cards as spectators hooted and whistled their approval.


Shawn N
3rd VGM
0 points
One-on-one record: 4-3
Since emerging victorious at VGM2, Shawn has had little success, and this year was hardly "The Great Shawn N Comeback" he had proclaimed it to be. Although he performed quite well in general, he did not dominate any particular game and came up empty. His best bet was Madden Football, having recently received a PS2 and Madden for Christmas. But after advancing two rounds, he ran into a buzz-saw by the name of Steve N. After this latest set-back, many fear that Shawn may return to the life of crime that landed him in the "big house" years earlier, after being convicted of heinous crimes including J-walking, stealing extra ketchup packets from McDonalds, double-dipping nachos at parties, and even tearing the tag off of a bed matress. The good news is, Shawn can now practice Madden on a full-time basis, honing his skills to perfection. The bad news is, Madden is not scheduled to appear at Video Game Mania again until VGM17. THIS JUST IN: Authorities have confirmed that a white male by the name of Shawn J. N was apprehended late last night at a local 7-11, apparently attempting to shoplift a Slim Jim in his pants.


Frank H
2nd VGM
0 points
One-on-one record: 1-1
Frank will forever be known as "The Man Who Saved VGM4" for pointing out that my oven was on fire just when things were getting started. If not for Frank's keen sense of impending danger and quick response, I'm sure the whole house would have been burnt to the ground, bringing VGM4 to an abrupt conclusion. If nothing else, Frank proved that even people who can't play video games worth a crap can still serve a purpose in society.


Greg X
1st VGM
5 points (2 multi/3 single)- #5 seed in playoffs
One-on-one record: 4-2.
Wanted by the law in three states for a crime he did not commit, I have respectfully honored Greg's request that his full name not be mentioned on this web site. Should his full identity be revealed, Greg would likely do hard time in prison with a bunch of homos, and we can't have that. On a lighter note, Greg is also known for his humorous video game-themed shirt, featuring hilarious lines from the hastily-translated Japanese Megadrive game "Zerowing". One side says "Sombody set us up the bomb", and the other says "All your base are belong to us" (actual dialogue from the game). Greg dominated, and some would say monopolized, the Sega Marine Fishing game, eventually pulling in a mammoth 238 pound Yellowtail Tuna. Despite being a devout PC fanatic, Greg fared very well at his first VGM, placing first in Marine Fishing (Dreamcast) and second in Soul Calibur 2 (Xbox). As usual, Greg showed up with a large posse, and these guys turned out to be impressive gamers in their own right, securing four of the eight playoff slots! And yes, it has been confirmed that these guys practiced the games beforehand.


This shirt is awesome.

Keith L - 3rd Place
1st VGM
16 points (12 multi/4 single) - #1 seed in playoffs
One-on-one record: 10-2
As a member of Greg S's posse, Keith L made winning look easy, taking first in Soul Calibur 2 (Xbox), Quake 3 Arena (Dreamcast), and K.C. Munchkin (Odyssey 2). In addition, he took second place in Ice Hockey (2600), Mario Kart Double Dash (GameCube), and Gradius (NES). Wow! Although Keith finally fell in the semi-finals, he did take the third place trophy by beating George in a consolation game of Atari 2600 Boxing. Despite the strong showing, Keith kept a low profile during the competition, steadfastly maintaining that he "cleaned phones" for a living. Had it been revealed that his actual job was inserting cheat codes into Nintendo games, his life would have very much been in danger.


Ken C
1st VGM
4 points (0 multi/4 single) - #8 seed in playoffs
One-on-one record: 2-2
The second of Greg S's henchmen is Ken C, who displayed his impressive skills by taking the high score in Gradius (NES) and the second highest score in K.C. Munchkin (Odyssey 2), which turned out to be just enough to secure the final seed of the playoffs. Unfortunately, Ken had to face Keith L in the first round, who had literally been on fire all day. Although Ken largely downplayed his video game abilities, upon his leaving he dropped his wallet, revealing his official "Professional Video Game Player" membership card. Overcome with rage, the angry mob of gamers dragged him outside and beat him senseless.


Hoyt H
1st VGM
0 points
One-on-one record: 3-3
Yet another of Greg's minions, Hoyt H emphatically maintained that he was NOT a professional video game player, and after seeing him in action, no one disputed this claim. Hoyt did however display some old-school skill when he made a serious run in the Atari 2600 Ice Hockey tournament.


Joe C
1st VGM
6 points (2 multi/4 single) - third seed in playoffs
One-on-one record: 0-4
Greg's roommate and right-hand man, Joe C capitalized on some big single-player game wins, coming in first in BurgerTime and second in Sega Marine Fishing with 229-pounder. Joe, were you really playing BurgerTime at skill level 3? That score is awfully high. If evidence is ever brought to light that Joe cheated, we may have to recall the VGM4 results in their entirity and replay the whole damn tournament over again.


Steve N - 2nd place
2nd VGM
12 points (8 multi/4 single) - #2 seed in playoffs
One-on-one record: 8-2
Although clearly taken aback by young upstart Keith L who grabbed the #1 seed this year, Steve N still turned in another sterling performance, with first place finishes in Madden (PS2), Ice Hockey (Atari 2600), and Tapper (arcade). The reigning VGM champ, Steve exhumed sheer confidence and made brash statements about how he would dominate. Tuan T, inflamed by his bitter loss to Steve in Madden Football, actually persuaded the crowd to engage in a chorus of boos whenever Steve would compete. But Steve N was defiant. Not only did he thrive under the pressure, but he even defied the dreaded "VGM Curse" by placing second overall.


Mike B
1st VGM
4 points (4 multi/0 single) - #7 seed in playoffs
One-on-one record: 2-4
Steve N's friend Mike B got off to a terrific start by winning the first event, Burnout 2, by inflicting an insane amount of damage by driving a car into an intersection. Mike claims he had not been practicing for this event, but his beat-up car outside revealed otherwise. Mike didn't fare too well in the subsequent events however, and was put in the uneviable position of facing a rabid Steve N in the first round of the playoffs, resulting in Mike's early exit.


Don F
4th VGM
0 points
One-on-one record: 1-3
Don is a legitimate Video Game Mania INSTITUTION. Is it because of his video game expertise? Hardly! Could it be his playful nature and competitive spirit that seems to bring happiness to all around him? Please! No, Don is a legend because he has attended all four Video Game Manias, and worn the SAME SHIRT to each one!

Legacy of "The Shirt"
VGM1 - December 2000 VGM2 - December 2001 VGM3 - January 2003 VGM4 - January 2004

DISCLAIMER: "The Shirt" is the exclusive property of Video Game Mania, and these images are solely intented for the VGM viewing audience. Any unauthorized use or transmission of "The Shirt" without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball is strictly prohibited.


Shawn P
2nd VGM
2 points (2 multi/0 single)
One-on-one record: 2-3
Shawn P was quite demoralized when he realized that the one console he DOMINATES in, the Fairchild Channel 9 (circa 1977), was NOT featured in this year's competition. Shawn's two points came on his second place Quake finish, where he really enjoyed the precise control that the mouse and keyboarded provided. Although Shawn didn't do much this year, but you have to give him major props for hauling that big-ass Centipede arcade game down from Philly for me.


Keith M
2nd VGM
0 points
One-on-one record: 1-3
Keith found it quite amusing to sing the "Real Men of Genius" Budweiser theme while watching grown men play 25 year-old video games. Funny at first, his non-stop singing soon became annoying as hell. Eventually, several attendees began plotting about how they would knock Keith out with a lead pipe and make it look like an accident. Unfortunately, Keith left before they could execute their diabolical plan.


Steve S
2nd VGM
0 points
One-on-one record: 1-2
Weeks before the competition, Steve boldly declared that he would "Come to VGM4 and teach everyone a lesson". And true to his word, Steve did come to VGM4. Yes, if one person attended VGM4 - it was Steve S. Unfortunately, the two events that he was supposed to kick ass in, Super Bomberman and Poy Poy, were cancelled due to time constraints. Steve S simply hasn't had much success in VGM over the years, but make no mistake - with Steve's considerable experience and proven skills, we're all expecting him to bust a big one any time now!


Scott Z
2nd VGM
5 points (4 multi/1 single) - 4th seed in playoffs
One-on-one record: 3-4
This was Scott's first appearance at VGM since the inaugural tournament, so it's understandable that he started off a bit rusty. After getting knocked off early in Soul Calibur 2, Quake 3, and Madden, Scott hit his stride in Ice Hockey, and finished strong by winning the Mario Kart Double Dash competition. In addition, Scott came in second in Tapper after a see-saw battle with Steve N. And once he reached the playoffs, there was no looking back. With his trusty Tac-2 joystick in hand, Scott defeated Greg X and top-seeded Keith L before realizing that he was set to face arch-rival and VGM3 Champ Steve N in the finals. Fortunately for Scott, VGM4 would be decided by Atari 2600 Boxing, an event he felt quite confident in. Sure enough, Scott pummeled Steve to a bloody pulp, and in one of the most dramatic finishes in VGM history, knocked him out with five seconds left in regulation. Now Scott can finally tell his three kids that he's a winner - and really mean it!


John S
3rd VGM
0 points
One-on-one record: 0-0
John might not be big on video games, but that's okay because to him VGM4 was just another social call - an excuse to eat, drink and be merry. Indeed, John will show up at any time for any occasion if there's anything going on whatsoever. In fairness, John did attempt a few games of Tapper, but hand/eye coordination is not his strong suit. Next year he's planning to save himself the aggravation and simply write out a check to the winner.


Tuan T
3rd VGM
3 points (0 multi/3 single)
One-on-one record: 1-1
Tuan was definitely the most vocal player at VGM4, spouting endless witicisms at every opportunity. And after getting brutally beaten by Steve N in Madden, Tuan even ran a semi-successful campaign to get everyone to boo Steve whenever he competed. But Tuan's main obsession of the day was Frogger, where he battled George tooth and nail to achieve the high score. When all was said and done, Tuan had just barely missed the playoffs. Indeed, his three points would have made him seed #9. Undetered, Tuan is striking back with a Mania of his own - PornoMania - coming soon!


Bobby S
4th VGM - perfect attendance
1 point (0 multi/1 single)
One-on-one record: 1-1
Although he didn't have much of an impact this year, Bobby deserves special recognition for having attended ALL FOUR VGM events (a feat duplicated only by Don F). In fairness, Bobby's performance may have been somewhat hindered by recent knee surgery on his left knee. At the conclusion of VGM4, I asked the players to help me move all the furniture back into the family room, and normally Bob would have been the first to volunteer, but when he motioned apologetically to his right knee I had to give him a reprieve. Then, in an unbelieveable coincidence, no less than ten other guys explained how they had undergone similar operations in the past week. I later calculated the chances of this happening to be 4,320,948 to 1. Even more stunning is the fact that a similar situation occurred just LAST year!


Mike M
2nd VGM
0 points
One-on-one record: 0-1
When it comes to arcade games, Mike M is the MAN! But not for playing them - hell no - he stinks at that! No, I'm talking about his ability to pick up and carry these gargantuan arcade machines down the stairs into my basement! You try carrying one of these 350 lb monstronsities on your back while walking down the stairs! Mike M does that kind of stuff all the time! He's my hero.


Rob Zell
2nd VGM
0 points
One-on-one record: 0-2
Poor Rob Zell. He was giddy as a schoolgirl about competing in VGM this year, but the stiff competition seemed to have taken the wind out of his sails. In fact, the records indicate that Rob lost every event he participated in. When asked about his poor showing, Rob fully attributed it to hanging out with Shawn N too much, who he claimed "hasn't won a game since Michael Jackson was black!"


Joe W
1st VGM
3 points (0 multi/3 single)
One-on-one record: 1-1
There was once a time when Joe W loved video games. In fact, the early 90's saw Joe purchase a Sega Game Gear and chuckle with glee as he honed his skills playing the portable version of Mortal Kombat. But the joy was short-lived, for one day while playing Mortal Kombat against the computer opponent, Joe's character was defeated and had his spine ripped clean out of his body - the ultimate in humiliation. Barely able to face the world after the incident, Joe vowed NEVER to play a video game EVEN AGAIN. That was ten years ago - to the day! Fast forward to January 17, 2004. Joe knew that VGM4 would be his last chance - indeed his only chance - to rekindle the love he once had for video games. And sure enough, as if those ten years had never passed, Joe heroically picked up where he left off, dominating the Centipede arcade game and even making a strong showing in Atari 2600 Ice Hockey. Realizing his mojo was back, Joe uttered this profound statement: "We all experience things in life, and Video Game Mania is definitely one of them, if you showed up for it, that is. Is there any more chicken salad left?" How true those words are. Welcome back Joe - we missed ya!


Bill W
3rd VGM
0 points
One-on-one record: 0-0
Bill's hectic schedule prevented him from enjoying Video Game Mania 4 to the fullest, but at least he stopped by in the waning minutes to see how everyone was doing. To be honest Bill hasn't been much of a factor since Video Game Mania 1. In fact, he's been voted "Most likely not to play a game", in the last three VGMs. Will VGM5 mark Bill's big comeback, where he will assert his dominance and ascend to the ranks of Video Game Mania greatness? Not likely.


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