For months I had saved up allowance doing chores and other housework. When my savings reached fifty dollars, I begged my mom to drive me to the mall. I knew exactly what I wanted to buy.
It was to be the video game to rule all video games: two of the greatest superhero entities, Spider-Man and the X-Men, teaming up to obliterate any existing forms of entertainment. The back of the box said you could choose to play as five different characters. I had friends who owned a Spider-Man game and friends who owned an X-Men game, but no one I knew owned a game with both. There was also an urgent message in bold: “STOP WASTING TIME READING THE BACK OF THIS BOX!!!” Without another thought I put several months’ worth of allowance on the sales counter and purchased it.
The game had obvious flaws but I initially dismissed them as mere quirks. Eventually, though, they abounded. For one, the levels made little sense in the story’s context, and you could only play as Spider-Man for the first one. Wolverine wore the wrong costume, his old one, and Storm couldn’t fly. Also, the villains were obscure, and even if I had been familiar with them, they would’ve been unrecognizable because of the shoddy graphics. In a few stages you lost health simply by breathing.
Some days later, at the mall, I explained all this to the ponytailed clerk behind the counter, making sure to enunciate my r’s and keep the stuttering problem I had at the time in check. In conclusion, I stated the game was a disgrace to such legendary characters. The clerk looked at the box and shook his head. He said he had no choice but to agree. As I walked out of the mall I avoiding looking at any storefronts, my fifty dollars refunded and firmly secured in a Velcro wallet.