I’m the youngest of three. My sister is the oldest followed by my brother (both from mom’s first marriage). Whenever my siblings would come to visit, my sister, Kece, played cards with mom while my brother and I got on the video game console. If you’re the youngest in your family, you already know certain things; first, being, when it comes to video games you don’t go for the player one controller. No. That is a spot you earn through years of patience, experience or being born first. There is a hierarchy to this shit, man. While everyone sees Mario as the hero of the Super Mario Bros. series, all the younger siblings are more familiar with this guy.
As hard as it is being player 2 for the majority of my life, I now realize that my brother had a lot of patience with me because it has to suck when your player 2 is six years younger than you and, as such, doesn’t catch on as quickly. I remember one instance when we were playing Jurassic Park, a 2-d scroller, on SNES. We were on a mission to obtain something and my brother fell into this ditch where a raptor was waiting. He didn’t have any room to maneuver since I was still at the top of the ditch and not moving forward ’cause… I panicked, man; and it was pretty fucking funny to watch.
(as his character is being attacked)
Travis: OMAR, MOVE FORWARD!
Me: Where you goin? Come on man… Walk it off… Walk it off, Trav.
I eventually got better, of course, as I got older and became a good player 2. What sucks, though, is when there’s a great game with no player 2 option. As was with the case in the first Metal Gear Solid on Playstation. Those were great games but suuuuuuuuuuuuuucked when you’re the youngest and you just gotta’ watch. The best you can do is ad-lib shit that’s happening. However, something started to happen when I watched my brother play this game. There were three instances where I knew what to do before he did (use the box to hide, use smoke to see the infra-red light security, grenades to the top of the tank). My brother checked with the character feeding intel in the game to be sure (I was right) then confirmed in the voice of intel, “just listen to your younger brother”. It was at this point I started thinking it would be time to usurp the player one throne.
Then came the night when I had a winning streak against my brother in Marvel Vs Capcom 2. This was huge ’cause my brother was thee student of the game. This is a guy that was memorizing the most difficult combos to pull off (stuff i still can’t do like that Ivy attack in Soul Calibur 2) just in case someone in school tried to step to him. I was lighting his ass on fire in one win and I thought, ‘surely, it’s now my time.’ This would be when I took the place of player one after this win. When I would finally be able to dictate what stage to be played, what handicaps to be set, ‘this was my time!‘ I started getting cocky and threw in the Neo / The Rock, “Bring It”, hand gestures between moves. He ain’t know who he was dealing with! Yeah… apparently he did. With one character left he proceeded to beat all of 3 of my remaining characters with ease before hitting me with the finisher saying only,
That was a lesson my brother taught me that no matter how good you think you are or become there is always someone better, “don’t get cocky kid”. Being player 2 makes you go through some Shakespearean shit, man. You’re the Calvary and the trusted partner getting ya dude out of a tight situation one minute and the next you’re the rival coming for that number one spot. I was always more fond of games that required teamwork, though. There was a time when my brother was being scolded by mom for doing something or another, and as he sat with his head down I said to him,
“Hey man… I know you’re going through some Melrose Place Teen stuff right now. But I wanna kill some aliens. Soooooooo if you could deal with that on your time and hit the start button…. Yeaaaah…”
Being the 2nd player all the time became less about trying to become first and more about spending time with my brother as I became a teenager. I preferred teamwork games because we didn’t grow up together and I preferred doing things with him. That wouldn’t be the case for a while. When I was just moving onto high school, Travis left for the Air Force. The parting gift he got me was WWF Wrestlemania 2000 on N64. This was when wrestling was amazing, we went to five stores before finally getting that game.
He played it with me and then left a few days later. He lived in Arizona for some years before coming back to visit and as we were playing the sequel to the game he got me, titled WWF No Mercy, I set him up as player 1 and myself as player 2 per usual. As we played into our session my brother was having trouble keeping up in the tag matches. As the most unfathomable turn of events between my brother and me, I will never forget what followed:
*after struggling to win a match*
Me: *staring at Travis*
Travis: I–Okay –Grab is A button and run is what? C-down, right?
Me:… I don’t even know who you are anymore.
Me: *Walks over to N64, unplugs Travis from Player one port to Player 2 port*
Travis: I–…(hangs head down smiling)
“Don’t you know I’m so sho, them *gamers* got no Glow, / Find a master ‘fore you can come back into the dojo”