America’s Next Top Master Chief: Oneonta


I wanted to play off of all the reality show competitions, incorporating the Survivor edition with the inclusion of Oneonta.  It’s all about marketing, baby.  The title originally left out “Oneonta,” but I knew using it would attract more attention.  Not everyone knows the Master Chief. 

I could have done something with growing up, or Syracuse, but there will be many more opportunities for that.

This entry essentially has subtitles:  “A Tale of a Closeted Video Game Addict,” or “Friday Night Forties and Fighting.”


A handful of months ago, flipping through the channels and realizing there was nothing on, the tail end of another stupid competitive reality show came onto the screen.  I remember when having to watch this show, and the “deciding moment” music reminded me of a few segments in the beloved Halo franchise.  It was amazing how cognitive my reaction was.  My pupils dilated, and I was ready to take on The Flood.  It gave me an idea for an entry; ergo, here it is.


In my opinion, there is one reality show that stands out in my mind:  The Great Race.  It pits teams of two against each other in a mental and physical race to the finish, not knowing if they beat the other team(s) or not.  I’ve seen this no more than a handful of episodes, but I find it entertaining.  Survivor has been played out in my mind, like many of the other “reality” shows that I don’t care to see.  I survived through the Runways and whatnots, convincing myself these were fateful guilty pleasures.  However, the difference with The Great Race is significant travel.  The competitors are constantly moving in the episodes, having a consistent competition.  Some shows have the significant down time to “get to know the players;” however, this show proves you don’t need that down time.  You pick your favorites, crossing your fingers with their hope to win.  The best part is, you’re ticked when they lose:  it is the team’s own fault not crossing the finish line before the others.  No one is “voting” anyone out, which takes up the majority of time in any other reality game show:  one competition and all chit-chat.

I’d rather have Jeopardy competitions.

The only problem with having a show like America’s Next Top Master Chief, playing off of all the other reality show names, the premise would be very similar to The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, The Running Man, etc.  There would be difficulty separating “episodes,” for a stereotypical season due to competitors dying off at spontaneous rates.  Marketing would be difficult, let alone promoting the premise; however, with the craze The Hunger Games has sparked, competition to the death could be a better platform that one would think.  Given the situations and environment, the “show” could last minimally a half hour.  Marketing such a thing would result in failure and a bunch of money would be lost. It would be even more devastating than a certain social media’s decision to jump onto the Wall Street Bandwagon.

Nah.  Not that devastating.

You would have a team of soldiers pitted against evil aliens:  the last survivor wins it all.  It’s a bittersweet ploy, and it would play out like a science fiction film.  Hey, something is better than nothing.

I haven’t figured out the whole premise, rules and whatnot, but I why would bore you with the details if I had?  I’m trying to give you substantial bathroom reading here.  If you wanted to read the rules of the game, you’d best pull the directions out of a board game.  How awkward would you feel, coming out of the bathroom with the box top of a Scrabble game or the paperwork from Mousetrap, explaining to your coworkers that there is nothing better to be read?  What would be even more strange:  you carrying out the pictures of the characters from Guess Who? in a bag, because you’re “trying to memorize the people,” getting to know them, their personas.  However, you tell your coworkers about your wanting to memorize the points for each Scrabble letter, or practicing for your next move in Words.  Reading the directions:  who does that? You need to convince yourself to want to read something heartbreaking boring to ease your stress from constipation.

Why do I talk about bathrooms so much?  I feel the need to wash my hands or something.




After washing my hands, realizing the awkward necessity for immediate sanitation had not filled my expectations, I must continue on.

I did, however, brainstorm a quick resolve to my competition dilemma.  This isn’t the future, nor are we inhabiting other planets.  As boring as it is:  video game reality. 

Instead of watching the people play the video game(s), the screen would be the POV of one of the players.  The same rules, those rules I had never explained to you, would appropriately apply.  This would ensure every one’s safety–God willing–and no one would actually perish. It’s amazing how competitive one can get over playing Halo, but I’ll indulge upon this in a moment.  However, the show would essentially parallel the movie The Wizard; yes, the video game flick from 1989, staring Fred Savage.

With the upcoming release of Halo 4, I think this would be the perfect time to invest.

However, the conflict of man versus man is exponentially highlighted in such competition.  Women can get involved, but it wouldn’t be the same; there would be some subconscious thought that we men would have to watch our language and manners for conversation to fall short of par, or “interesting.”  It’s nothing against women, but I’m just simply saying.  Second guessing ourselves, men, is something we don’t need.  It can get distracting and our performance won’t be to our expectations.

Even over Kinect, the voices and sounds from other players’ quarters can get annoying.  Yes, I’m talking to all you little teenage punks.  Damn, whippersnappers.  Get off my lawn!

It is amusing when you start messing with the kids through the speaker.  They will repeat anything you say, especially if you repeat it more than twice.  “Say pineapple,” I stated.  Chuck and I waited for a response.


Chuck and I looked at each other, confused, thinking the goofballs on the other end had to have heard us.

This time with feeling:  “Pineapple!”

“Did he just say pineapple?”  Finally, a response on the other end!  The question was topped off by laughter.  Chuck and I had to join in.

The third game we had played, someone was cranking terrible rap music in the background.  I say terrible, because you could not understand a word and the music was muffled.  I understand playing music can get one amped, but this kid was obviously trying to make a point, failing and making an example of himself.  Not only was the so-called soundtrack provided to us, it was cutting in and out.  Choppy muffled music is what we want to hear. 


Video game competitions had started in 1972, beginning with the game Pong.  That’s my opinion, however.  Two people had the opportunity to go head-to-head, rectangle-to-rectangle in a virtual game consisting of blips and beeps; this was a supposed upgrade from actual table tennis.  We cannot deny the console was more compact.

Then video games evolved with two-player modes, each competitor taking their own turns.  There were further evolution to more on-screen player-versus-player modes, especially with Tecmo Bowl and Super Mario Brothers when Mario squared off against Luigi for tokens, and then we upgrade to N64 and Sega Genesis games where more than one controller could be applied then and there.  We all know the progressions, though.

This evolution proves my way of thinking:  man(kind) had the ability to upgrade video game technology and capabilities.  Evolution.  God created species with intent and hope they evolved.  Chew on that all you theologists and scientists.

The Collins family owned an N64, and getting to hang out in the basement to play GoldenEye 007 was a real treat.  Otherwise, we would utilize the ping pong table, or go in some AOL chat room to call people out or pretend we worked at Disney World, dressing up as one of the characters.  Hey, guys (Mike, Dan, Steve), remember HoneyDippa or some screen name of that sort?  What a jerk.

Anyway, we would play the game religiously during the winter and off-and-on when the weather was nicer.  Our parents, like any other normal parents, would encourage us to hang outside.  Get my drift with the italics?  Of course, we did hang outside, battling monsters or creating enormous piles of leaves to ride a wagon into.

Yet, we would burn winter hours as we sat in front of the television screen, going head-to-head or two-on-two, playing as Bond, Mishkin, Zukovsky, and Trevelyan.  You could never be Oddjob, because he was too short.  Being him would be “cheating.”  This parallels chicken wing cheating:  our ordering 70+ wings, hot, and consuming them with blu cheese; blu cheese utilization is cheating.  Steve would sweat uncontrollably.

It was mindless fun that kids (and adults) could enjoy, preceding Jet Moto and Twisted Metal for PlayStation.  Who didn’t want to own one of those hoverbikes?


I then took a break from video games, returning to traditional Nintendo for continuous years.  Sophmore year of college, however, is when things changed.  My roommate, Bill, received an Xbox.  It was uphill from there, waging competitions in Halo.  I simply loved Halo and the following games in the series; yet I watched others play the variety of other games due to it feeling like a movie/show to me.  I could, also, get some work done, focusing better opposed to trying to read during commercial breaks of television shows. 

When playing in multi-player mode, the broken screen made it easier to figure out where your enemy/roommate was.  This was, also, a problem with GoldenEye 007.  The mystery of what could be around the corner was deflated.  This frustration would be accompanied by everyone telling each other to stop looking at their screen.

Then senior year came around.  Before going to the bars or a party, it’s in each and every person to pregame.  There is no sense in denying it.  Since Oneonta was a dry campus, the difficult part would be sneaking in the alcohol.  Snafu #1:  Bill had a car, but he was student teaching or at the library the majority of the time.  Snafu #2:  We could take the bus down, but couldn’t take it back to campus without having a large, dark bag; even then, it would be sketchy.  Luckily, the convenience store at the corner of Center and Maple wasn’t too far away.  For integrity purposes, I would make the trek.

Out of Blodgett, I would travel down the Cow Path, rounding Bugbee to continue four blocks in order to reach my destination.  After purchasing–let’s say 10+–forties, I would retrace my steps back to campus, walking as close to the buildings as possible.  I would meet Cliff out in the parking lot with his hockey bag; my arms would be burning.  Mission accomplished.

The thing is:  we were not stupid enough to play pong.  No.  That would be too obvious.  Instead, we connected two Xboxes, one in the common area and the other in Mike/Ryan/Rooney’s room.  Then, we would play on teams, going head-to-head in a Halo massacre: 

Friday Night Forties and Fighting.

We would have a docile beverage on a docile evening, but accompanied by laughing, hollering, shouting… and Cliff and I yelling at each other:  my telling him to stop using a vehicle, usually a Ghost, and his telling me to eat it before crushing me into a wall.

I had my tendencies during the game, often resorting to guerrilla warfare.  I had a great close to semi-distant game and a love for explosives.  Bill and Ross were clutch snipers.  Ryan C. and Cliff were tactical, willing to try anything to make a kill.  Mike and Rooney were close combat fiends, always willing to make a sacrifice to get a kill; in a sense, they would be the baseball players making consistent well-placed sacrifice flies for a handful of RBI’s.  We all were very good, and each session was different:  different teams and different outcomes (even when teams were the same).  (The Return of) Scuddz, Rusty, Barnett, Ricky, and Tone would, also, get on the playing action that year. 

Male bonding is what it was about.  Thank you, video games.

Good times.

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