Pac-Man Meets Magikarp.
Yonder days ere old, ye birth of that which we do not say came to come...and conquer
It was in the latter part of President Carter's office, it was the midst of the assassination of John Lennon, in the Chinese year of the Monkey, it 'twas the year 1980. Comrades of company Namco ventured into the new and seething, twisting territory of “video games”. Ye arcades sought heavily after a new game to pour into their magic computer screens and befuddle their children. Namco vowed to fulfill all besieges for a new instrument of mind torture. Men toiled day after day, long into the nights, until satisfied with their creation. Once done, born of their terrific and disturbing imaginations, the one doomsayer appeared.
They called him Pac-Man.
Know from whence ye games came about
Mortals know not of Pac-Man's inner-most nature. He was presented, with much fervor, as a hero to all, a champion of all that is good and comely. His popularity soared to such heights that even precious puppies and kittens were jealous of his fandom. Meanwhile his adversaries are cast as vengeful antagonists of a most hateful nature.
This unbalanced divide between Pac-Man and his foes is even seen in their appearance. Pac-Man is the colour of fresh corn on a hot summer's day and is perfectly round and pleasing to the eye. His foes, however, are crafted like crude picket fences. Jagged and of an assortment of odd colours, with demented eyes that roll in their sockets like marbles in a jar, they were clearly neglected and abused in their period of creation.
His foes are hence called Pinky, Blinky, Inky, and Clyde or collectively “the ghosts”
For many years these two groups—the so called protagonist and antagonists—made war with one another. 'What for?' Ye may may ask. As ever many a battle was fought, thy object of glory was nourishment. Computer world possesses numerous so-called 'levels' in which a healthy amount of food is displayed. Pac-Man is rapacious, gluttonous and heinous, however. The main staple—dots—are coveted by his mammoth of a mouth and the special treats—strawberries, cherries, bananas, and such things.—that appear now and again are especially tantalizing to him. The ghosts necessities of life mean nothing to him and indeed he would as soon see them starve into nothingness.
Furthermore, Pac-Man commands the advantages of rapid maneuvers and sorcery. The ghosts often are untouchable and outnumber Pac-Man. However, Pac-Man is of a particularly sneaky nature and oft sees how to outwit the poor creatures. In addition, he is gifted with the power to conjure spheres of a flickering quality.
Once he casts his voodoo over the spheres, the ghosts become vulnerable to Pac-Man and he will leap upon them in a fury fearful to behold and swallow them whole! They will reappear after a time, in a box so tiny it is unsuitable for bread, with their egos and mental states reduced to a fragile crisp of their former selves, and all the while Pac-Man continues his slaughter. Eventually they will escape their miniscule prison, but frightened and distraught. (This experience is especially damaging to Pinky, who is claustrophobic).
For a quarter of a century and one year they fought, with Pac-Man always seizing the upper hand. Even though Pac-Man's popularity steadily declined in the front of new games and sparkling new systems, his legend was held intact. Through the trumpet calls, falling banners and blinking GAME OVER, the ghosts hung on by a thread, their sanity long past devoured by the spacious jaws of Pac-Man.
That 'twas until the year of the Rat, during President Clinton's office, the time where Walkmans, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Nirvana reigned. It 'twas the year 1996. In yonder year the birth of a magnificent game came. Its songs were sung across the lands like a phoenix's praises. It is Pokemon for the Gameboy.
Meanwhile, the leader of the ghosts, Pinky, is plotting. She is a simple being, not unlike her friends, except she has developed a wily cunning streak bred of sheer experience fighting the monster. It's a desperate ploy, dangerous and unheard of. It must work though, for all other options have run out.
I shall set it forth, straightforward and cleanly: Pinky must burst forth from the confines of her world and into another world. From there she will entice a fellow creature to come into their world and with utmost haste dispatch Pac-Man forever. She calls it 'hacking' and 'hijacking'.
The hijinks are underway!
October 23rd dawned as bright and gay as any other. Everything was as per usual, with no more extraordinary events occurring than were usual in the world. There was an exception of one unusual item. All who had a network connection and turned on their Pac-Man game discovered a malfunction: Pinky was completely absent.
Our small heroine, Pinky, was barreling through cyberspace. She thrust her way past, between, over and even through streams of nonsensical code. Pinky slivered between hundreds of gateways, doorways to hundreds—thousands!—of games. She knew not what she was seeking. None sung to her spirit, however, though Mortal Kombat hummed a little. Suddenly, Pinky stopped dead. A gateway stood in the midst of the abyss, bright gold light poking through its edges. A whisper filled her mind, like wind through grass. Then it suddenly became a resounding roar of noise, akin to thousands of fans clapping at a baseball game.
This was it. Pinky cracked the seal of the gate to Pokemon: Blue and dived in.
She landed in the pixelated cyan water of Lake Babywood She, a non-mortal creature, felt, smelt and touched nothing, though saw everything. A twister could sweep her up and away and she would hardly notice its inconvenience. She peered 'round, probing for the cause of that beautiful call. Whom?
Like a stone on sea, she sank into the water. The lake was almost deserted, save for a few tiny fishes darting about. Disappointed, she rose to the surface. Wait! At the shore was a disturbance. She drew closer, curious and desperate.
Where the water mated with land was an elephant of a man. He had barbarian muscles and a thick neck and wore nothing but a thin muscle shirt and jeans. He pointed one sausage sized finger at a creature in front of him and laughed. The creature he laughed at would have fit neatly into his massive palm. It was shaped like a fish, but with the whiskers of a lion. Its scales were smooth and shiny, an elegant combination of scarlet and gold.
The fish began to thrash about in the shallow water, splashing water onto the barbarian's boots. Pinky floated a little closer, hovering just behind the fish now. The man stopped laughing. He started screaming. He could not give the ground under his feet away fast enough. As he ran off into the distance, he yelled something that escaped Pinky's ears. It was just one word: Ghost.
Pinky was more than impressed: she was stricken with the fish. What type of beast could strike such terror into a big man's heart? There was no doubt. She had found their defender.
“Friend,” she bellowed. “What's your name?”
The fish flopped around until it stared up at her with one of its massive eyes. Its eye was yellow and glassy and rolled back and forth with wild abandonment. Pinky's respect was deepened. What a monster!
“Sir dude, your name,” ordered Pinky.
It croaked, then screeched...
[An ode to Magikarp]
Flail! Thrash! Splash!
One, two, three!
Be all you can be!
Glitter and gold and honey of olde.
Pac-Man is all glitter and gold and honey of olde.
Yet under the glitter is dust;
Under the gold is mold;
and the honey is far too old.
Flail! Thrash! Splash!
One, two, three!
Be all you can be!
Red and gold and crown of olde.
Red for blood;
gold, pure and lovely;
and the crown of olde for old nobility.
The arena was set. The curtains opened. The stage prepared. The time had come.
“They” all gathered in Level 1, huddled in an unseen corner. It 'twas October 24th and Pac-Man was deep in slumber. Without Pinky, he had relished a particularly boorish day of consumption and desired an intense rest.
“They”, without doubt, were the ghosts and, of course, their new friend Magikarp. Magikarp barely spoke, but this fact only embellished upon them a sense of its deep royalty. The ghosts
were considerably energized by Pinky's vivid description of Magikarp's strength. Examining it on the spot, however, Magikarp was a bit....flimsy. It was unresponsive to their talk and halfway through another explanation of the situation, it began to swim in circles, hunting its own tail.
“Chica, you sure this cat is all that?” Blinky whispered to Pinky.
“Chill. You'll see. It nearly jacked this fellow up,” Pinky replied.
Clyde drifted into the room. It was their own room, invisible to humans and inaccessible to Pac-Man. If the ghosts wishes were to become true, they would never venture from their room. However, they had an obligation to go forth and battle with Pac-Man over the dots. They were the main program and all other worlds connected to theirs drew a rhythm from them.
The room was a cozy hideaway, built from their own imagination and grasp of programming. It 'twas coloured with oranges, spring greens and violets. It expanded and shrank to their desires. Each ghost's eyes saw different things. Comfy chairs and old rugs; sleek stools and tables; cool metal and polished hardwood; and airy curtains and baskets of flowers.
What did Magikarp see? Mayhap we shall never know. Perhaps it saw as humans did the visible Level 1, a sea of blackness lit only by the ghosts auras and neon borders. Perhaps it swam at the bottom of an ocean or an ice-cold lake. Or maybe all it saw was a gurgling, seething splatter of colours and twisting shapes.
“It's time,” Pinky, Blinky, Inky and Clyde chorused.
The room began to shrink, giving everyone the intense feel of being pushed through the cork of a bottle. Magikarp rolled its eyes back in its head and flopped left to right. A burst of white and they materialized in a small neon box on a black screen.
na-na-tee-dee-dum. The arcade music began.
nom nom nom. That was Pac-Man chewing through the dots.
The ghosts slid out from the narrow entrance of the box with Magikarp in tow. They circled to the right and up and to the right again. There was Pac-Man, at the end of one long onyx corridor. Magikark was at the other end now. The ghosts split up, leaving Magikarp and Pac-Man to stare at each other. Pac-Man gazed at Magikarp, curious and weary. Magikarp looked back, its eyes dull and its mouth an open O. Pac-Man blinked, then smiled.
Pac-Man thundered down the corridor. His eyes blazed like the fires of Dante and his roar was akin to a thousand packs of wolverines.
Magikarp is a credit to its ancestors. It floated, steady and true, with an unerring grace and an unflinching nature of pure steel. It merely swished its tail and screeched “SPLASH!” (Splash is an unknown command; we hypothesis it is a powerful tribal chant from Magikarp's home land).
The ghosts were tight on Pac-Man's tail, determined to prevent any cowardly escapes.
Truth dawned 'o the moment. Pac-Man fell upon Magikarp. He unhinged his mighty jaws and his cavernous hole stretched to its fullest extent and then, in the flash of an eyelash, he swallowed Magikarp whole. Glop!
The ghosts froze where they were, horror etched into their features. Pac-Man twirled about, smug as a little yellow bug could be. Pinky stopped where she was, ashen beneath her violent pink skin and stared into her companions eyes. A long, low whimper escaped Inky's mouth.
Then another cry, and another, until the Ghost's Wail was born. Low and mournful, echoing with a haunted sorrow, it drowned out the dee-dee-bop arcade music.
Pac-Man flinched. Then shuddered. Then his eyes bulged like a googly-doll. The ghosts stopped and stared as the events unfolded.
Pac-Man jerked himself to the right, then left. His skin protruded out in little bumps like some creature was in his mouth with a BB-Gun and a case 'o pellets.
“HARR-AEICH!” The shrill scream came from Pac-Man. Never had he made a sound before and never would he again.
“Magikarp!” cried Pinky.
“SPLASH! SPLASH!” bellowed Magikarp. Its head now stuck out from Pac-Man's mouth. Pac-Man made gurgling noises and frantically shook himself. Nothing happened though Pac-Man became more panicked as he fought to dislodge the obstruction in his throat. It was to no avail.
Pac-Man gave one last heave, sputtered and then fell. As his body hit the black screen, it dissolved into tiny wisps of gold.
“He'll be back,” Pinky said, right away.
“Sure, but I bet he won't be so friggin' greedy,” replied Blinky “Thank you! You are one cool cat, Magikarp.” The praise and thank-yous were echoed by all the ghosts.
Magikarp blinked, looked at his audience and then croaked one word: “Splash...”
So thus concludes the legend of Magikarp and its entrance into the arcade world and its valiant battle with Pac-Man. Pac-Man did come back, but he nere' dared to cross paths with Magikarp again. As the tides and moon passed, it came to pass that Magikarp was a female—we know because of the eggs she laid, the eggs that brought into our world bright blessings of baby Magi.