Video Game Characters in the Unemployment Line
I live in Michigan. That sentence alone carries with it a certain low-brow, sorrowful note that used to sound so much more cheerful and glorious. Ah, but since the ‘Second Great Depression’, the economy and commercial dominance that once reigned large and proud has sadly slipped into a hibernation that likely won’t see its resurgent Spring for a long time to come. But even outside the borders of this once superior state exists many more clamoring to keep their heads above water as well, so I think it’s high time we start thinking way, way outside the box and wonder just for a minute ‘What If…’ That’s right, suspending disbelief completely for a while, what if some of your favorite Video Game Characters existed in our own world and had to face their own soul crushing reality of an economic flat-line. So for Labor Day, we wonder, how would those pixelated people face life in the Unemployment Line…
Existing in a world so polar opposite from our own and living out fantasies and alternate realities is the whole idea behind The Sims. Anyone can create an avatar and drop themselves into a lifestyle so unlike their own that it eases just enough of the back-breaking strain the real world piles on in spades. But imagine if all of that weren’t possible.
Let’s say that those lucky, wealthy shlubs from The Sims managed to crawl their way into this belching cesspool of existence not unlike Samara from The Ring. Their extravagant and beyond-their-means ways of life would suddenly and forcefully grid to a shrieking halt. Unfortunately for them, their are very few jobs anymore that can support the ability to drop by any upscale clothing store around and just take whichever gorgeous piece suits them. People don’t bring in the kind of cash where it’s quite as simple to shell out big bucks on excessive luxury. Well, that is unless you’re a rapper or Lebron James… but that doesn’t happen very often. Yes, sadly, The Sims would -in a matter of days- be sitting at the local Unemployment branch, numbly filling out piles of paperwork just so they can have a modicum of pride every other week when their worthless check arrives. Or else, it’s the virtual soup kitchen.
The construction industry has taken a pretty big hit, too. Especially those accustomed to working in gravel pits digging up earth for use in new road and highway building. And that, unfortunately, is Taizo Hori’s claim to fame. You just don’t see the need anymore for such a singular profession as ‘Air-Pumping Rocks’ because -let’s face it- it’s gonna cost the consumer a shit-ton of money.
So poor Taizo has to decommission his pump because it has become far too costly for him to afford. Even beyond that, his ability to protect his clientele from such inhuman critters as Pookas and Fygars has become instantly moot since, well, there aren’t any here on Earth. Yes, I suppose his skill in extermination might land him a job somewhere, but it’s far different killing bugs as opposed to rock-eating, man-sized monsters. No, regretfully for Taizo, his days are numbered and it looks like he’ll be making a pitiful percentage of his former paycheck.
Sports is a fickle mistress. One minute you’re riding the very apex of a cresting Tsunami; the height of your game, the summit of your career… when, without warning, the wave subsides; weakens, and your once astronomical popularity is but a footnote in the annals of professional sporting history. Oh sure, some pros hang in there, battling tooth and nail, till the bitter, inevitable end… but the vast majority just hit the proverbial brick wall and fade into an asterisk-ridden obscurity.
Little Mac had the greatest career in boxing history. Sure he wasn’t as well known as Ali, Frasier, or Leonard, but the miniscule scrapper battled his way to immortality. He plowed his way through the ranks of fighters who did little more than serve as distracting roadblocks. He found new and inventive ways to end the careers of fighters five-times his diminutive size: who knew a bellybutton punch to King Hippo was the way to go? Little Mac, that’s who. But, alas, after his memorable and historical brawl and subsequent defeat of Mike Tyson, Mac had nowhere else to go but down. He still works, let’s not begrudge him that. But he works at a deli, for free. Its his dad’s place and he just does what he can a few nights a week. Mostly though, he’s unemployed. Ah, but he says he’ll be back… some day.
There’s very little the real world can offer you outside of the occasional reality show when you’re a pixie-like elf toting around a sword and a shield all in the name of ‘Princess Location/Protection’. Unfortunately, around here, the only princesses who need any kind of bodyguard are Hollywood skanks and even they tend to stick to guys who could, in a sitting, eat you as an appetizer.
Very few people, in our opinionated world, can get away with wearing a fully green ensemble that looks like something out of Peter Pan. So, when it comes to the job hunting that you’re about to do, you might want to consider a little suit and tie. And about the sword and shield and that bottomless satchel that’s got like ten candles, a bunch of glass jars, a… what’s this: a boomerang? Yeah, this has to be left at home. And it says here on your resume (interesting Old English verbage by the way) that you are proficient in Tri-Force Collection, Whistle Warping, and Ocarina Time-Travel… yeah, that’s best left off. Not too many employers looking for those skills. No… no, we have no lost princesses or haunted castles around here, sorry… hey, where are you going? Do you want to be unemployed?
Mario Mario is a plumber. He’s damn good at what he does and he gets high praise for his work ethic and performance. Where he’s from, the piping system is a labyrinthine mess that winds and twists into huge underground worlds infested with bats, black-shelled bugs, and massive amounts of free-floating fire. But Mario isn’t afraid. He’ll take on all comers and even spend a great deal of time terra firma as he swats away hordes of marauding turtles, mushrooms, bullets, and anthropomorphic cacti. Alas, the real world has very few of these things doing any real harm.
Though Mario is a gifted plumber -and we all know mechanics of his ilk get paid wads of cash- he’s just not used to pipes he can’t actively shimmy down. Sure, he could work for the sewer system or in storm drains, but his expertise lies in his ability to crush his targets with not a wrench, but by stomping and punching. And jumping around like that underground in our world is not only stupid, it’s impossible. Mario is also very good at destroying the plethora of hovering brick and mortar structures that inhabit his homeland obviously put up by some completely insane mason. Mario can also, while under the effects of magic mushrooms (frowned upon, buddy) become three-times larger and infinitely stronger. These people are generally taken to prison. I’m sorry Mario, but you’re just too over-qualified for any thing Earth has to offer and therefor, it’s a Government stipend for you. However, we do have this big pipe in the Gulf that we might be able to use you for… can you breathe under water?