We all have those few titles that we simply crush, regardless of difficulty. You know what games I’m talking about, for me GE64 has to be on my top 10 list, as I absolutely destroyed it in every way possible. For others, Street Fighter is the gaming weapon of choice, to flex muscular dexterity. Some embarrass the competition on Need for Speed, Mario Kart, Halo, the list goes on and on. Than there are games on the end of the scale. Titles so hard, it made you want to throw your controller (if you didn’t already) into your TV, or write a letter cursing the developers responsible for making a devishly difficult piece of software. It’s travail no one can understand unless you’ve experienced it first hand. Megaman 2, one of the pioneers of these “tough titles”, comes to mind, Ghost and Goblins, Bayou Billy, Contra 3, etc. I’ll admit, I never beat any of those games, but I tried til my fingers bled and rage ran through every vien in my body, but alas I threw in the towel, as many of you did. Well, one SF citizen was not willing to do so. This individual is more ardent and finatical about gaming glory than the rest of us and was willing to go the ultimate distance for such prestige; throw in the towel, he shan’t.
Meet William Skools, originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, now a San Francisco resident and avid gamer like the rest of us, well not quite. Mr. Skools has gone beyond the effort of any player and made the greatest sacrifice for video game grandeur by selling his soul, literally. That’s correct. I thought doing an adult film was the only sure fire way to do this, but evidently I was wrong. “I was surprised at how easy it was. All I did was go to City Hall and they had forms and everything.” said Skools. “I did it for Battletoads on the NES, that game is so hard. I’ve spent years trying to beat it. That game won’t get the best of me anymore!” added a confident William. In all fairness, BTs is considered a difficult game, the hover bike level being one of the most arduous levels. I didn’t beat this title, but is ridding your body of it’s purest form worth a game’s completion? For William it was a no brainer. “I tried beating it at least 52,000 times before coming to the decision. Something had to be done, so I made a deal to ensure I would not only beat the game, but become the best BTs player who ever lived!” cried Taylor, knowing his words would echo throughout the capacious city hall.
What happens now? Naturally, William totally rocks at Battletoads, but what consequences does he face for such a trade? “Depending on the facility, Mr. Skools cannot enter any restaurants or bars that adhere to the optional, Souls Only Policy.” Says an SFPD spokesmen. “Churches?! That’s a give in, Mr. Skools can’t be inside, let alone, within 100 ft. of any church in San Francisco. No soul, no worship.” chuckled, the spokesman. “Personally, I’m not surprised.” stated a CIty Hall employee. “This city is known for it’s liberalism and freedom of expression. I mean, people come in here all the time selling their souls. Half the bums you see in the streets sold their higher selves for that life. Free food, free money, lots of outside time and tons of tourist attention. Whatever floats their boat.” she concluded.
If soul selling is that easy and frequent, then what happens to all these retained souls? “It depends on the city.” said San Francisco PR rep Jon Vine. “Some go on display at the Academy of Sciences, the Moma, it varies. Some stay right here in City Hall and become recycled into very useful paper weight. Many are fashioned into souvenirs though.” admitted Vine. As for William Skools soul, he requested it be placed in a jar and given to his parents, who can no longer visibly see him with the naked eye; this is due to their blood relation. The absence of a soul in a physical body severs blood ties with all existing relatives, including the peceptual relationship and audio reception. “We miss him dearly, but understand how he felt about Battletoads. At least we have his soul right here, with us everyday.” stated William’s mother, Mary Skools. “It looks like an empty jar, but I can feel him, all squeezed up in there, like a baby!” she sobblingly added while pressing the jar against her cheeks. “I even tried to beat it for him, to relieve him of the burden. He was so determined though, stubborn even, but that’s the Skools way and that’s my boy!” added a proud, yet emotional, Mr. Skools. “I love you mom and dad!” chimed in a translucent William. Silently, the parents attended to their luke warm oatmeal.
In order to earn gaming triumph, something must be surrendered in exchange. Some dedicate a copious amount of hours, giving up their social life and dating, while surviving on fast food. Others choose to hack for instant results, regardless of the legal ramifications. A larger group accept the fact that they just plain suck. William Skools however, refused all of these options, adopting to become 21 grams lighter, invisible to his family and occluded from most recreational businesses in SF. His spiritual self now resides in a jar more conducive to hosting jelly, versus a soul. None the less, William has etched himself into gaming history, becoming the greatest Battletoads player to ever live. Some may think he is crazy, some may follow suit to conquer other games and some even belive him to be the prophecy for the next golden age of video games. At the end of the day this spiritless man is a gamer, no matter how much immaterial essence he lacks. He is one of us. As for me, I will endure the hardships of gaming glory the conventional way. As for Battletoads, I had a two word solution for that period of my childhood: Game Genie.