Saturday, January 11, 2020

Beast of Legend

And speaking of human bugbears...

When I was a kid, I spent way too much time...and way too many video game arcades, especially during the first couple years of high school. Upon my death, when my soul has a chance to reexamine this particular life, I fully expect to feel a sense of disappointment in the hours wasted in such idle pursuits. Ah, well..."misspent youth" and all that jazz.

One game I played the hell out of (and whose name I can't recall and don't feel like searching for) was a side-scrolling, multi-player fighting game in which you would collect "power-ups" that would make you burlier and meaner until you finally transformed into a hulking werewolf. Man, I loved that game, though I've always had a special fascination about werewolves (the same way some folks dig on vampires, I suppose). Anyway, it was always a race between me and whomever I was playing with to collect the little glowing attempt to see who would be first to enter "beast mode."

[all right, hold's the game: it was called Altered Beast and it's from 1988. There's even a wikipedia entry on it]

No, your video avatar didn't have a big axe (more's the pity), but there was still a visceral thrill to "wolfing out" and absolutely shredding the various zombies and monsters that (prior to transforming) you had to kick to death, a piece at a time.

Watching Marshawn Lynch unleash his own "beast mode" over the years has conjured a similar reaction, in both myself and his fan base (certainly here in Seattle; I assume the same in Oakland). Having him back with the Seahawks for the playoffs is...well, for a team that lost its starting three running backs (two of them in week 16!), it was nothing short of a Christmas miracle. Regardless of what his 30-some year old body can give you. As my mother remarked: "If he gives the team anything, it's more than what you had in the running game, which was nothing." Pretty fair assessment.

I have to say I was damn surprised to see Lynch come out of semi-retirement (again) to play for Seattle, a team that tends to burn bridges between itself and other ex-star players. But #24 is a different type of guy. Most of the hard feelings with guys like Sherm and Thomas came from the clash of the superstar ego against the hard reality of the business that is running an NFL franchise. Lynch has an ego, too, but it is one that exists independently of any particular need to be "liked" or "wanted;" he just does what he does. Leaving the team was his decision, and he came out of "retirement" because he missed playing the game and the 'Hawks gave him another shot at impacting the post-season.

So far, so good.

I expect Sunday's division round game against the Packers will either be a "good one" (i.e. what most folks call "good" football games: a tightly contested match), or else an utter shellacking with Wilson getting sacked fifty times behind a makeshift line and our depleted running game getting bupkis on the ground. But IF the Seahawks can find some way to move the ball out there on the frozen tundra, Lynch is going to need to be heavily involved in the offense...not just running, but catching screen passes out of the backfield and...far more importantly...blocking Green Bay's outside linebackers (the Smith brothers) who combined for 25 sacks during the regular season. 4th string back Travis Homer, God bless him, just doesn't have the beef to take on those guys. We're going to need something a little more bestial.

We'll see if Lynch can add anything to his own legend.

Here's my current, un-retired version of Marshawn, statted up for Blood Bowl. Not as fast as he once was (though he was never much of a burner) but still a beast:

Marshawn Lynch (#24)
Species: Orc
MA: 6 ST: 4 AG: 3 AV: 9
Skills: Block, Break Tackle, Dauntless, Mighty Blow, Side Step
Cost: 220,000 gold pieces
Allowable Teams: Orc or Goblin only (time spent with the halfling Bills might be deemed a "failed experiment" in inter-species team building)

All right, that's enough blogging about Blood Bowl for now. My boy's soccer games were both cancelled for the weekend (too much snow in the passes), so I might have to break out the actual board game and run a match or two (how does one stat Aaron Rodgers these days? Hmm...). Then again, maybe we'll confine the football to the actual mayhem on television. We'll see.

Go Seahawks!

The Number of the Beast



  2. "Rise from your graves!"

    I remember Altered Beast well. The dragon form was my favorite. Great game.

  3. Sorry about your Hawks. They put up a good fight.

    1. They almost always do. In the end, it was a slow start (caused by too many injuries on offense) and too little experience (by the young players on defense) that did us in.

      Still, I'd rather play two playoff games than none. And Russell Wilson is pretty darn special (and fun) to watch. Um...if you're a Seahawks fan, that is.