The roar of the crowd echoes in the common room. Bodies occupy both couches, set up in stadium seating on top of a table, and an arm chair. Two guys sit fixated on the 10- inch television in front of them. At the boiling point of the intensity one of them jumps to his feet victoriously as the other scowls in disbelief. Just another competitive match of Mortal Kombat between suitemates in Castleton Hall.
Josh Manley, a Castleton State College senior, falls victim to freshman Kevin McCarthy, a Castleton freshman.
McCarthy sits on a self-proclaimed Mortal Kombat throne on the top floor of Castleton Hall. He says the field of competition is slim, and he welcomes competitors to play him. Manley is just one of McCarthy’s victims.
“Sam’s probably my biggest competition,” McCarthy said. “Because he can beat me. When I play other people it’s a flawless victory.”
Sam Esser, a Castleton sophomore, is another button masher in the building.
“I may play with an easy guy, but his guy is cheap,” said Esser, adding how the attention to the Nintendo has affected his schoolwork. “I think I’ve played more Super Nintendo then I have done homework.”
Although Manley may not be considered a top competitor in Mortal Kombat, when the crowd dies down he puts another game in.
Sometimes it might be Super Mario World, and others he’ll be playing Sunset Riders.
“Playing reminds me of the good old days,” Manley said, laughing afterward. “When it was all about pressing buttons as fast as you can. It was like kids had super thumbs.”
Manley says Sunset Riders is a suite favorite at the moment, but only because Mario has been overplayed.
“It has just gotten to the point where we see how fast we can beat it now,” he said as he and “Spikey” Mike Baldino, a Castleton junior, get a quick game of Riders in.
Baldino and Manley say they have cracked out to the game lately, and continue to stare at the 10-inch sitting on top of a storage bin. Baldino has an interesting philosophy on video games.
He says it’s about the excitement of going back to your childhood and beating games that seemed impossible when you were young.
Adding that the new games take time to get all the controls memorized, when the old games only have four buttons to push.
“I do like how you can stick handle in the new hockey games,” he said defending the new technology. “But Zombies Ate My Neighbors is the most impossible game to beat. It can’t be done.”
No matter how big the crowd, noise will always accompany gaming. When they team up it’s motivating chants, and when it’s one on one the trash talk pollutes the air.
At one time or another each one of the suite mates has found themselves playing at the wee hours of the morning.
“There was one night I couldn’t sleep, so I started to play for a little bit,” said Manley. “I had homework to get done, and I probably should’ve been in bed. I cracked out for about five hours in the common room before I went to bed.”
Other suite mates turn the Mario theme song down, press their phone against their shoulder and talk to their significant other while battling Bowser. No matter what the excuse, the Super Nintendo is always there tempting any procrastinator or bored soul. Night after night when the crowd disperses, the Super Nintendo idly sings theme music while it waits for the next person to take the controller.
“That thing has made me a procrastinator,” Manley said as he shut off the Nintendo.