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King of Kong Opens tonight at the Arclight - then Nuart
If you walk through the arcades these days you will see three different games. Driving games where you speed through various versions of Hell. Shooting games where you shoot and kill as many people places and things that you can. And walking down the street beating the shit out of people as much as you can games.
Sure there are the odd sports, puzzle or pinball game, but those are few and far between. It makes us wonder if secretly the government isn't subtly training our kids to be really awesome soldiers. The driving games are perfect simulations for steering a tank through warfare, the team communications of WoW and strategy are perfect training for officers, and the shooting and fighting games are ideal for the grunts and sharpooters.
A long time ago though there used to be creative video games. For every Space Invader or Asteroids shoot-em up there was Pac Man or Dig Dug. For every Battlezone or Defender there was Frogger or Crazy Climber.
And for a while the best video game around was one where you had to do something that we in the Grand Theft Auto Age haven't seen in a long time - you had to avoid contact at all cost.
Donkey Kong was creative and genius and hard. It was our first time ever meeting Mario, a spunky little dude who would help put Nintendo on the map with this game, and later the dude who would make the Super Nintendo a must-have, and now is doing the same for the Wii.
Tonight at the Arclight begins showing The King of Kong, a documentary about two of the best Donkey Kong players of all time, decades after anyone had ever gone home thinking about the game. These two men move Mario around in ways that no two men have ever done before or since. It sounds crazy enough to be excellent.