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This "Thing" Belonged in a Swamp
by Michael Thomasson

The year was 1990, Sega had just released the first 8 meg cartridge Strider, and the Chicago CES was brimming with uneducated salesman on the show floor representing just about every gaming company in the world. The Genesis conversion of the popular Capcom arcade game, Strider, was a big success. So, with all successful ventures, the copycats swarmed the market. Some with relative success, and some with dismal results. Swamp Thing, had it been released, would have belonged to the latter category. However, the game's representative, complete in suit and tie, felt the great desire to convince me otherwise...

I had casually approached the game, and giving it a fair shake, I not only watched the 'attract mode' of the game, but also picked up the controller and attempted to play the game. Attempt being the key word. I understand that many games displayed during the Consumer Electronics Shows are in production, but this persistent salesman proclaimed that not only that the game was complete or near complete, but also that it paralleled with Strider! Now, not only was this game nothing like the genius behind Strider, it was literally nothing of value gaming wise, what-so-ever! The game was a simple side-scrolling fighter in the manner of Final Fight, but please do not confuse the reference with a sign of similar quality. This game was as simple as it was uninspired! Literally the same type of treatment that other licensed games were treated in the nineties! Let me refresh your memory: Blues Brothers, James Bond Jr., Lethal Weapon, Frankenstein, Rocketeer, Home Alone, Back to the Future -- I'll save you the pain there...

So, being the polite fellow that I am, I act as if I am having fun playing the game, and attempt to move on. If you've ever been fortunate to attend a CES or E3 showing, you know that there is more to see than time to be found. This poor guy knew NOTHING about games, but tried his best to convince me otherwise. He threw out the BIG power phrase of that years show, "It's 8 meg!" Tried as I might, I could not escape this creepy promoter. As I tried to leave, he actually grabbed my shoulder, and swung me back to the display console. He then pushed a controller in my hand, and challenged me to compete with him. What really made this event so wacky, was that Swamp Thing was to be a single player game! He had no character on the screen, but bobbed back and forth, controller in hand, making excruciating faces as if involved in a very challenging game! Occasionally he'd even cuss to himself in despair or grumble under his own breath. At this point, a fellow co-worker and friend approached, and I quickly handed my controller over to him. I suppose that in retrospect, I wasn't that good of a friend for doing such a thing, and that he was more of an associate. However, at that moment, I had never been so happy to see him! I stated something silly and unversed like, "Here, try this great game!" and moved along at a frantic pace.

Later that evening, I attended an industry party being thrown by one of the show sponsors. Upon entering the facility, I was already eyeing the female populous for potential conversation. I spotted a rather attractive young lady standing shyly in the corner, so I proceeded to get us both drinks preparing to introduce myself. With drinks in hand, I turned around and she was gone! Before I even had time to react, the mysterious, newly hired and misguided marketing fellow, approached me again - or rather pulled into a conversation that he was conducting w/ another obviously trapped individual. The individual being the aforementioned woman. I had just become a victim of 'guilt-by-association' and knew that my chances of success with this woman were diminishing fast! He then proceeded to take one of the drinks from me, and kept it for himself, instead of being a gentleman and offering it to the lady, as I had intentioned. Then, as if I were a friend of this bizarre little man, he then proceeded to try to get me to compliment the Swamp Thing game as well as endorse the product to the fellow woman by boldly stating to us such drivel as, "Tell her what a great game Swamp Thing really is" and "Didn't we have so much fun playing the game together!"

To this day I often wonder what this gentleman ever wanted from me. I ponder what 'could have been' with the aforementioned lady, and now that I think of it, I have never heard from my 'friend' and associate that I handed over the controller to that day on the CES show floor ever again!


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