"How much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"
"If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is around to hear it, did it really fall?"
"What came first... the chicken, or the egg?"
"To BE... or NOT to be?" And perhaps the grand daddy of them all
These are just but some of the deep questions that mankind has struggled to answer for many generations. Some GREAT questions... and then!
There was one!
"Who is the robot monkey?"
But alas, I'm getting ahead of myself again. Let's rewind a little bit. I was born in the summer of 1983
[You went too far back -Ed.]
Sorry, itchy trigger finger. Ah, here we are: July 7, 2008
HOLD ON, LET US START OVER
But actually, way before that date, I've always been someone who enjoys giving public speeches and hamming up oral presentations. I remember a time in college where I was to present a report on the World War II bombings of Hiroshima, Japan. Instead of doing a boring ole standard report, I decided to reenact a victory speech made in the Pacific to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic
And so, it was on a mundane Monday morning that I surprised my classmates and professor with a frenetic high-energy victory speech. Later that afternoon, on the class website I found this message left by my professor:
This is part of the original shot. D'oh! I know I know, don't say it. The funny thing is, when I took these shots in early-mid 2006, I had no idea what I'd use them for. I just knew it was a cool little tidbit I had to save for whatever reasons. The speech was great fun to deliver, and the music and words matched perfectly. Seeing my classmates' reactions was priceless, as I turned that mundane Monday morning upside down
ON THE A-JEN-DA
In 2005 I made my first University play, a dream of mine since freshman year in high school circa '97. It was there that I met my good friend Jen (for more, see Playback). Years later, this past May, Jen and her boyfriend Dan took me out to dinner. It was there that Jen suggested I look into her work place as a summer job... she teaches public speaking courses to young children, as young as five years old! She told me I'd be perfect for it, so I sent her boss my resume. Things happened and ba-da-bing ba-da-boom -- I was hired
KING OF THE IMPROBABLE!
So this summer I'm teaching a public speaking class to 5 and 6 year olds. On Monday, July 7, 2008, I had a pair of 5-year-old twins who were very shy. After we played a little game, I found out they loved video games
"What's your favorite video game?" I asked one of the twins
I almost fell over. That was one of my favorite games growing up, in fact, at one point, THE favorite. But then I thought to myself either he meant War of the Monsters, or that I was SO out of touch with games today that possibly a new KOTM emerged, title infringement aside...
"Yeah, we love King Monsters!" his twin bro shouted
"No, it's King OF THE Monsters," his brother reaffirmed
Remember, these boys are only FIVE!
"For PlayStation? XBox?"
"Nintendo!" the twins shouted. If they said Neo Geo, I surely would have fainted!
The only way to test for sure if it was the same game I grew up loving, I asked them, "Who is your favorite monster?"
"I like the Godzilla one!"
"OH you mean Geon!" I shouted out of excitement. The rest of the kids in the class blinked at me innocently O_O
"Yeah! Geon," he butchered, in a copycat attempt
"Do you know the human guy's name?" his twin asked me, obviously aware of the fact now that I was a KOTM expert
"We call him Ultraman!" they both laughed
"HA, SO DID I!" I exclaimed, lost in a moment of truly bizarre-o OMGWTFBBQ!
"Who is the robot monkey?"
And then the kid put his arms up just like Cyber Woo
"CYBER WOO!" I shouted with glee. The twins laughed. I quickly told them how King of the Monsters was one of my favorite games growing up, some odd 17 years ago! They looked at me with big innocent eyes and wide grins. What were the odds? Somehow, we found an improbable connection, and this led to the twins dropping their masks
Here's your robot monkey, fellas. Good ol CYBER WOO!
That Monday, July 7, when I came home I searched for KOTM on Virtual Console. I figured it was what the twins meant when they shouted "NINTENDO!" To my surprise, King of the Monsters received a VC release earlier that day! Random coincidence, or was it how the twins played the game? But wait, something didn't add up I told myself....
A. My class is super early in the morning. I doubt they could have downloaded and played the game before class that morning it came out on VC
B. They mentioned a robot monkey: Cyber Woo was NOT a robot in the original, he was simply "Woo"... therefore they had to be talking about King of the Monsters 2
C. KOTM 2 has yet to receive a VC release
D. They cited it as a Nintendo game
That means... it had to be SNES King of the Monsters 2... but what were the odds of ALL this, including the fact that KOTM was VC-released THAT SAME MORNING? That's some serious Twilight Zone material! My best friend Nelson and I grew up loving SNES KOTM 2
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
The next day, Tuesday, my homework for the students: each of them has to find something valuable at home to bring in Wednesday to share out to the class why they like it so much
The twins looked at me innocently. "Mr. Steve, guess what we'll bring!"
I laughed. "King of the Monsters?" They nodded their little heads furiously, looking like a pair of bobble head dolls
NO FREAKING WAY. I know VC downloads aren't physical, so it HAD to be the SNES King of the Monsters 2 port, no? The drama would cease come Wednesday....
There they walked in, sure enough with two SNES control pads and the KOTM 2 cart in hand. As they went up to the board to sign up the order of their speech, I snapped a photo of the crime scene. Part of me still can't believe this, I mean, seriously, what are the odds...
Maybe one in a million?
During their speech, they told the class about the game and why they liked it so much. At the end they told me they were stuck on the sea level
"What's wrong?" I asked
"We can't get over the hole in the ocean"
"Just press B real fast"
One of the twins shrugged. "I guess we don't do it fast enough"
The game was a home run with the kids. At break time, everyone huddled around the twins and were asking questions about the game and admiring the glossy label. Then they started to pretend play it
"I'm Cyber Woo!"
"OK then, I'm... uhh... Mr. Steve, what's the Godzilla guy's name again?"
"I'M SUPER GEON!"
"First we have to fight this big frog guy, then this ugly monster with a brain for a face!"
"Is he the big fat one on the cover?" One of the girls asked
"No that's the last boss," I jumped in
"When you beat the ugly brain face monster, you have to fight his brain too!" One of the twins instructed
Later, I asked one of the twins who his least favorite monster was. He said Atomic Guy, because "he's weak and this little kick is all he can do"
Then the kid actually replicated the kick to a tee right in front of me, TWICE. His form was flawless and quite frankly, it scared me! That whole morning I saw some of the most adorable AND the weirdest shit I'd seen in a LOOONG time... wow, it was pretty nuts *chuckles*
Teaching little kids this summer the art of public speaking has been a great experience. Tell me about it, kids that young going through public speaking courses is a bit mind-boggling. I mean, when I was five public speaking was the last thing on my mind. Then again, things were a lot different back in 1988. Communication is bigger than ever and I guess you can never start them too early. Some of them were naturals at it while others I had to work extra diligently with in order to help them overcome their shock of public speaking, pardon the pun. I enjoyed my time with the kids greatly, but the *one* moment that I will always remember the fondest is, hands down, the SNES King of the Monsters 2 fiasco. I loved and played that damn game to death 14 scorching summers ago. And now? It is the favorite game of two five-year-old twins in the year 2008... quite a trip if ya ask me!
Yep, my faith in humanity has officially... been restored ;)
"HERCULES, HERCULES! THE NAME'S CYBER WOO, KIDDIES, DON'T FORGET IT!"
"BAH! I'M THE ORIGINAL KING OF THE MONSTERS, SEE!"