THE SOFTWARE DUDE
by Jason Cockroft
The tune played "take me out to the ball game", it was the game of the month, J.S.D. and The Raving Reviewer would prove who's the real dunce. So much for the intro. This was it. The long awaited rematch between The Raving Reviewer and myself was about to happen over the classic game of baseball or shall I say Starbowl baseball.
As I think back I believe it was Jumpman where The Raving Reviewer and I had our last head to head competition. We all know by now that I rose victoriously. Yet, since that day, that cunning, so called associate of mine was dying for a rematch. Oh yes, I've played him in Pole Position, River Raid, Dimension X and Encounter since that fateful game, yet we never had the big rematch. This match, with no doubt, would be more than the game of the month but rather the game of the year.
News of the rematch spread quickly. Soon every software store had signs posted everywhere. Software dudes all around began to gather. There would be a simple message on the posters. It read, "J.S.D. vs T.R.R. Monday Night 8:00 PM 001 BUNKER ST." This of course was my home.
I tried to make the basement a little respectable for the event. Even though T.R.R. was my Arch Enemy, I knew I must conduct myself like the champ that I was. With this in mind I scrubbed the grease from my T.V. screen, emptied the garbage cans and cleaned the countless bags, bottles and bugs from the floor. Further, I rented a bunch of recliners, post-a-pods and fridges, for I knew it was going to be a long night. This would mean more to me than the Marines did to Gomer Pile.
As for the game itself, it was like the lifesize game in almost every detail. If your team is up to bat you control the batter and the baserunners. You can lead off and steal. But WATCH OUT! you may get picked off. On defense you control the man closest to the ball. Once you retrieve it you can throw it anywhere in the infield. Your men are also capable of catching the big pop fly and making the double or even if you good, triple play.
The game is made complete with its great little extras. For example, before the game starts you hear the American national anthem. The game further includes crowd cheers, the seventh inning rally, out of town score board, and the attendance of the game. During the seventh inning you may bring in a reliever. You see, if you over use the fastball you pitcher's arm will soon be bagged. You'll have to make do with the wimpy guy till the seventh. Other great additions to the game include the display of the inning by inning scoreboard. Yet there was one feature I dreaded about this game,(due to the additional stress it adds on the ballplayer) - extra innings.
Two weeks before the match I was tuned. The pickoff, the pitchout and, of course, my pitching would make any major leaguer cringe. The game packed all the excitement of the American classic, all in the comfort of my cushioned recliner.
Monday morning finally rolled around for me at 11:00 AM as I reached over to shut off my alarm. "Today was going to be a special day," I thought while I gazed into the closet mirror. The clothes I slept in seemed clean enough although my hair seemed to be in a scattered mess. I grabbed my ol' Little League "Bunkerstreet Dispols" cap as I made my way down to the basement. I took one look at my Atari console and I knew I had to get away for awhile. The tension began to mount.
If there was one thing that could calm my nerves, it was a cruise in my Stratochief. I decided to kill a couple of hours and cruise `The Ave' When I got down there I realized it was Monday afternoon. I spent half the day sitting at stoplights and watching pedestrains cross the street. It was kind of fun.
By mid afternoon I needed to talk to someone so I pulled in and had a word with Al at the local software store.
You look as wound up as T. R. R.," laughed Al.
"so he's been here too. I wonder why he hasn't been out cruising the streets like I have? ", I asked.
"He went for a couple of practice laps at the Raceway," he explained.
"I guess that Maseratti isn't as streetwise as the Stratochief!", I added.
"J.S.D." said Al, "The Raving Reviewer pays me in cash for his software, not in I.O.U.'s and in refundable bottles. If your asking me to comment on the game tonight, well let's just put it this way ... LET THE BEST MAN WIN! " So much for that guy. I went home.
Around six O'clock the people started to pile in. There was a lot of talk and stuff like that. Junior Dudes were shooting their mouthes off about how they could connect on the fastball and all that, but I just sat and waited, Waited for The Raving Reviewer.
At ten to eight he arrived as his usual pretentious, gleaming self. Some Junior Software Dudes asked him for his autograph as I sat in the corner.
One of the Junior Dudes shouted "J.S.D. is pro! Let's get his autograph!"
As I scribbled my name on software packages, I glanced over at T.R.R. and noticed the gleam was gone from his smile. By this time the game was about to begin.
And so it was to be ... THE GAME. There were sweaty palms, beady eyes, shaky hands and smelly feet. But, of course, the game went into the extra Inning. The score was one all. As you might guess, it was a defensive battle. Both of our pitchers lost their fastball in the third. Yet, through imaginative pitching styles along with our great infield plays, the game kept close.
The Raving Reviewer had first bats. I can tell you right now, when you play this game, use all your pitches. (Sliders, Curve, Knuckler, Fastball) Your comments and style will give you away. To be the best, you must constantly change the rhythm of your pitching. But by the end of the 10th T.R.R. had me figured. He knocked one of my knucklers over the fence.
But, being the pro, you get to know the ropes of any game. I was down but not out. I had my final bats.
My first batter flyed out. My second struck out. Could this be? after calling a time out I ran into the kitchen to make the meanest pot of coffee my stomach has ever fought.
As I went back into the basement I looked around for the first time that night. The room was packed. Not only two Dozen software dudes, but so was the editor, Al, Miss "Quick Game", and the Mayor there. I wasn't about to fall in front of all of them!
The first ball he threw I jumped on. I smashed it to left field. I managed a single out of the play. Now I was in business. My winning run was up to bat.
Within a couple of minutes the count was full. It was time for my baserunner to make his move. Before his pitch got underway my baserunner was on his way to second. I figured a basehit would bring him home. Then there was the pitch or was it?
T.R.R. threw a pitchout. His throw to second was strong and fast. As Porky Pig would say "Dats all Folks".
By the end of the week my salary at ROM was cut in half. By Pay-day I'd sold my Stratochief for some cold cash. By the end of the month the landlord kicked me out of my house. We agreed that I could rent out the basement. I was back where I started a year ago - at the bottom.
The rest of the week I played Baseball against the computer. But while I played the thought kept striking through my head - I was # 2.
I was lying on my couch last Friday evening when I heard a knock upon my door. It felt like a lot of effort but I got up to answer it.
"Miss Quick Game ?", I said.
"Yes, well I mean no. My real name is Diana Giles," she replied.
"Well what brings you here?" I blared.
"J.S.D., you look like more of a mess than you've ever been before and we both know the reason why. Have you seen Rocky III?"
"Well let's go see it. I think it will do you some good. "