Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010

8-Bit Warrior Debuts At Alchemist

New Play Pays Tribute to Video Games and ‘80’s Culture

By Russ Bickerstaff
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I first walked into a video arcade when I was too short to reach the console. They used to have milk crates for us grade schoolers to stand, giving us just enough height to reach the joystick or trackball. Growing up without religion on Sunday mornings, I always had the glowing altar of games like Galaga, Gyrus, Spy Hunter and Sinistar to stand-in for any kind of formal belief system. The video arcade of the 1980’s had a weird kind of a spiritual connection for me growing-up . . .but there were those who saw it as something of a competition. Fueled by the TV’s Starcade with Geoff Edwards and high stakes competitions in various locations across the country, there was a real competitive edge to those games for the majority of the arcade-going public.

 

This March, local writer Vince Figueroa of the comedy group Meanwhile pays tribute to arcade competition and the decade it originated in as he presents 8-Bit Warrior. Written and directed by Figueroa, the play follows the exploits of a high school student who is looking to achieve the all-time high score on Donkey Kong. Okay, so that part sounds a bit like the 2007 documentary The King of Kong, but there was real drama in the 1980’s video arcade that’s never really been captured onstage (or, really on film for that matter. There was that one scene in Flynn’s arcade in the beginning of Tron, but it was hardly realistic . . . )

Judging from the promo text on the Alchemist Theatre website, 8-Bit Warrior may not be exactly what I’m hoping for here, but it looks like a really promising bit of nostalgia for those of us who remember standing on milk crates to reach a video game console in the early '80's.

8-Bit Warrior runs March 21st through April 11th at the Alchemist Theatre


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