Tuesday, July 10, 2007


JoS posted his personal baseball glossary today. It's fun to see people's terms and phrases grouped and explained. You've got some that are totally personal to them, some that came from message boards, and some that everybody's just kinda always said. Like, any Seinfeld fan surely heard of Yankee pitcher Scott Proctor for the first time and immediately called him "The Assman." I know I did.

I should do my own version of this someday. Anytime I can get that Richie Sexson nickname out there.... (Richie Sexson = Rickey Genderson) Oh, and Brian Bruney = The Goose! As in goose-stepping (because he's a Nazi). And being a reliever. Who's not nearly as good as the old Goose. Anyway....

This brings me to another online dictionary I discovered last night. First, some background. To me, there's nothing better, let's just say, "in the world," than walking into an establishment and seeing a Ms. Pac-Man arcade game. It has to be Ms., it has to be fast, and it has to be real--not this 20th anniversary version--trust me, it's not quite the same. A mega-bonus if it's the "sit-down" style, but that's quite rare. I'm not about to tempt fate by wishing any place, even an actual arcade, has a sit-down.

When I met Brian in the late 90s, he started talking about "playing Ms. Pac-Man," as if it was something he was doing then. Not 15 years earlier, while on vacation in Atlantic City, like me, but that day. I said, "Wait a minute, they still have those machines somewhere?" The only place I could think of that would have had them would be arcades, but last I'd checked, all the Pac-Mans and Q-Berts and Donkey Kongs had been replaced by games where you're actually shooting people with guns, or driving in little cars, or, and I still don't get this one, dancing.

Brian explained that not only do some arcades still have the old games (like the place he'd worked, "What's Your Game?", in Bridgeport--and here I was getting jobs at supermarkets), but that Pizza Hut restaurants regularly carry the game....

...and there was one down the street from where we both worked, at the time, in Danbury. So my life changed. Changed back, actually, to a life where playing Ms. Pac-Man wasn't some vague memory.

Soon, we'd started a band and named it The Pac-Men, although I still say it should've been the Ms. Pac-Men. But I guess the thought was that everyone would think we were transvestites, so we kept the male name for a band of four males. We were also coming up with little phrases that described moves in the video game, as we also had moved in together and were constantly eating cheese bread sticks and playing Ms. Pac-Man, often having to wait for some schlub who was waiting for a pizza and decided to pop in a quarter, only to die three times at a point well before Brian or I would've even come close to dying once.

I was naming moves after him, he was naming moves after me. We were both naming moves after Charles Nelson Riley and Rip Torn. We'd even discovered on the newfangled internet that back in the early 80s, some equally geeky video game players had written a virtual thesis on the tricks and hints of the game. A "cruise elroy"--a term of unknown origin--was the name they gave to the moment when Blinky, the red ghost, gets an extra burst of speed toward the end of a board. I even gave myself that nickname when The Pac-Men put out our first 7-inch. (That's a record. A record is a...oh, forget it.) So if anyone wants to call me "Cruise Elroy," feel free, but it didn't catch on then, and it probably won't now.

Brian ended up, I believe, finally topping 1 million points, and having the board go all screwy on him. My best remains at 339,630. I'm still kind of ashamed I never at least made it to the half-million mark. I feel like I always have too many stupid mistakes. Oh well.

So last night, I discovered that some people on GooTube have been putting up videos of their Ms. Pac-Man games. One girl seems like quite the expert. However, it seems like these people are all referring to the "slow" Ms. Pac-Man. (Earlier I said "it has to be fast." There are some versions of the game where Ms. travels a little faster, while the ghosts stay the same speed. This is what Brian and I have always played. If we see a "slow," we just walk the other way.) It's almost like "slow" is the way to go in this modern age. I even found a glossary of terms (I got to the point!) called "The Pactionary," which claims that the fast Ms. Pac-Man is "a charlatan's game." Bullcrap! And on their little list, there's no Cruise Elroy, no Charles Nelson Riley, no Rip Torn.... It's almost like they're trying too hard to be cool, and trying to sound like those stupid sex terms. A "dirty handless"? Come on. That's got no place in the Pac-World. Terrible job, new, slow, Ms. Pac-Man players.

There is a sit-down Mrs. Pac-Man at Mama's Bar on Avenue B and 3rd street in the east village. I spent most of last Saturday night on that thing. No idea if it was fast or slow. I wasn't very good either way, so it all seemed fast.
My friend Jennie told me of a bar that has all these games and stuff. Mama's sounds familiar. Maybe that was it. Either way, thanks for teling me where a sit-down is.

If Ms. Pac-Man is going just about the same speed as the ghosts, that's a slow. If you can get through the first two boards without much effort because the ghosts have no chance, that's a fast. (The ghosts do get faster and faster, though, as the game goes on.)
No, I'm pretty sure those ghosts were really slow in the beginning. I didn't get into much trouble until the borders went all red and they were having kids. I'd say its fast for sure.
Cool. But isn't that great, how you can put your drink down on the machine? I've got a pic of me somewhere at the sit-down game, at like 12 years old.
I think the Assman came from you, actually. I should note that.
Oh. Heh. I'm honored, then.
My friend Jennie told me of a bar that has all these games and stuff.

I think she may have been referring to Barcade in Williamsburg.
A bunch of years ago I was at a bar near GW University in DC called The Froggy Bottom Pub, which, at the time, had a sit-down Ms. PacMan. I was well on my way through a nice game, around 250,000 points. This was a Saturday, which featured $10 all you could drink specials. Anyway, this wicked drunk girl, probably underage, staggered by the table and threw up right on the screen. It was pretty chunky, so the splatter was minimal, but needless to say, it sort of ruined the game. She walked by slowly, but threw up quickly, so I'm not sure if it was a slow or fast version.
We have a local pizza place here in Vista, CA that has a sit-down Ms. Pac-Man. There is also a DQ with a stand up Galaga/Ms. Pac-Man combo. I know that doesn't count, though. I wonder if you could find one on eBay?
That was the dream when Brian and I lived together, to get one for our place. Crap, I forgot to mention how we ended up doing a "Ms. Pac-Man competition" back then, and our band played, as did Atom & His Package. Oh, so, anyway, my girlfriend has recently brought back the idea of getting one, though she says she'd prefer a stand-up. The ebay prices were high back when I used to check. Just checked now--1500 for the cheapest sit-down, a few hundred for the standup. Someday.....
Ok, Jere, listen up. This is Cmdr. Chesticle from Pactionary. I've read your blog, and feel the need to counter your attacks. As far as the slow vs. fast debate -- Lance is right. The original game was slow. Ms. Pac-Man was originally a hack of normal Pac-Man, which has always been "slow". Fast-Pac did not show up until later, and is generally considered too easy for serious Pac-ers to even fuck with. If you look up all official games and tournaments (including world records and such), they're all on Slow-Pac. Case closed.

As far as your terms go...Charles Nelson Riley, Rip Torn? What the fuck? As far as Cruise Elroy, this term has been up for debate for some time on Pactionary. You are correct -- this term has been in circulation. However, if you read the comprehensive report by the "Bozeman-Montana Think Tank" (the definitive resource for expert Ms. Pac-Man players), they admit that this term totally blows and is in use because no one has thought of anything better. We're proposing "Red Bull" -- kicks the shit out of "Cruise Elroy".

And as far as accusing us of "trying to sound like those stupid sex terms", I'd like to remind you that Pactionary is a family site, and any innuendo is purely a result of your own deranged mind. Despite my defensive tone, I do encourage you and anybody else to take your criticisms to our Forum -- we read everything that is written and will take it into consideration if it is presented in a mature and natural writing style.

Cmdr. Chesticle
Reading my last line again, I'm realizing what you and Lance mean when saying the original was slow... I know that, I know all about the speed-up chip, etc. When I said "new, slow players," I was just implying that your breed is now playing the slow. And you're new to me.

Moving on, I'm not allowed to talk to "slow" people, but I'll make an exception here. Oh, and I wouldn't say "fast" came out "much later." I was playing fast machines shortly after the game came out. In fact, it was all fast machines back then. In the early-mid eighties, you could pretty much count on arcades, at least on the east coast, to have fast Ms. Pacs.

See, "Red Bull," this is what I'm talkin' about. A cryptic name from '81 that has never been heard before or since is way better than some drink that you and your kind play your little sex games while drinking. If you get rid of Cruise Elroy, you might as well tear down the pyramids of Egypt. Or rename them the Extreme-amids.

"any innuendo is purely a result of your own deranged mind"

Ha, sound like something I'd say. But it's pretty obvious you're goin' for the lowest com. d'nom. in some cases there.

CNR and RT: When you've almost completed a board, except for three dots next to each other--you go and get them to complete the Charles Nelson Riley. Three dots, three names. (Therefore, Rip Torn=the final two dots.)

And what you call a handless will always be a Marshall to us, named after Brian Marshall, who is the king of this move.

I guess the point was the whole "personal glossary" thing. And when I see someone acting like they're the definitive dictionary, it just makes me all jealous I didn't put mine up first. You've done a good job, but, for me, the action is the juice. No... I mean, when I saw you were slow players, it's like we're talking about a different game. And with all your colorful colors and sex talk, it just doesn't compare to that old text-only printout with all the original Pac-talk from '80 or whenever.

No conclusion.

Thanks for responding.
Hey guys, quit hogging all the 20-sided die...
I think it would be all the 20-sided dice...

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