“Set ‘er down there, boys!” calls out a familiar voice, instructing movers to place a large wooden box down against the back wall of our beloved home away from home we have all come to affectionately call “MECCA”. A large thump later and the box finds its landing.
“OH!”, shouts Vito Valentino with extreme concern. “Easy on the merchandise, fellas! If I wanted to dump a big wooden box on the floor I’d just call over Yama!”
“What did you say about my Mama?!” irrationally replies one of the movers.
“No. YAMA. As in… ah fugetaboutit!” he explains, facepalming.
Vito motions for one of the movers to hand him something just before an older gentleman of the team hands Vito a crowbar. Applying the end of it in between the wooden slats on the front of the box, Vito pushes forward, separating the wood and revealing the magnificent contents inside.
“Ohhh shhh-” he stops himself, “-oooooooot. Ain’t she a beeeeYOOOOT?!”
Wrapped in cellophane, an arcade cabinet with a built-in chair and steering wheel shimmers from the light. The side reads, “Cruis’n USA”.
“CHUUURCH, baby! Ain’t nothin’ like the experience of a true classic!” he says, patting the kid who was offended by a nonexistent Mama joke on the shoulder.
Hours later, we return to MECCA. Cruis’n USA is hooked up to an outlet and the man they call Metro is at the wheel. The 1994 racing classic looks gorgeous in all of it’s 64-plus bits of processing power.
So on the eve of Classic Wrestlin’s second PPV, I find myself in the main event against someone who’s found himself in the middle of a comeback. I can respect that. Pullin’ yourself out of a hole like you were in ain’t exactly easy, especially when the competition is breathin’ down your neck. I can also relate to anyone findin’ themselves at a crossroads after sufferin’ a loss.
The blocky environmental textures give the Italia P69 that Vito’s driving a charming quality unlike any other racing game out there.
I get it, Schwartzy. You need this. Badly. Like 8-year us needed Crossfire. Especially considerin’ you’re up against a man who’s already beaten you. The parallels that lie between us in this aren’t just a fantastic coincidence, my friend. Fate is funny like that. But I need this one, too. I’m on the precipice of finally gettin’ my shot at the Real World’s Championship, see. After chasin’ a coward and takin’ underhanded cheap shots for so long, takin’ a big fat “L” to someone not even in a championship conversation does me no favors walkin’ into “In Your (Haunted) House”. Capisci, paisano?
A quick, 55-degree turn sneaks up on Vito. He sees it coming and leans into it, flawlessly gliding past a row of trees and lampposts. It’s just raining metaphors up in here!
So it’s like this. You’re gonna try’n bait me into runnin’ after you. That whole cat and mouse thing. Problem is that I’m wise to your intelligence that would otherwise allow you to find a way to win. Your unassumin’ nature is a real tour de force here. So based on what I already know ‘bout you, Schwartz-O, I’m not givin’ you an inch to breathe.
Instead, I’mma take you by that scrawny pencil you call a neck, whip you into the ropes, and when you’re cruis’n at me like a checkpoint in Golden Gate Park? I’mma lift you up and slam you across my knee until you’re as folded up as a slice of Brooklyn-style pizza. And finally? I twist up those pale chicken legs of yours, step through the hole that’s bigger than your game, turn you over, and wrench back as hard as I can until I hear one of two things: you submittin’, or the bell ringin’.
Vito crosses the finish line to the roar of the pixelated crowd frozen in stasis. He throws his hands up like he just won Gold in Tokyo when a lovely gal pops up from the bottom of the screen holding a trophy, and the words “FIRST PLACE” materialize towards the top.
I’d welcome you to the METROpolis, but as it turns out? You’re already familiar with the sights. So the only courteous thing I can do for you now is… book you a room at Hotel Valentino.
Enjoy your stay.
Turning around with his arm draped over the back of the built-in chair, Vito winks at the camera before we fade to that trademark black (and gold)!