[Business Day One] Level 99
Some of my favorite memories of my childhood involve laying on my bedroom floor, with my head and shoulders against a bean bag chair, and playing Final Fantasy VI. For hours on end after my homework was done, I’d lead my party into a desert or a field somewhere and just level up. For those unfamiliar with the process, let me give you a run down. A lot of role-playing games from that era (the mid-90s) followed a fairly straight-forward story arc. Your main character would get a team together, go on a journey, battle villains along the way, learn some lessons and eventually confront the Main Bad Guy in an epic final battle. The fine folks that programmed these games made assumptions about how strong your team would be (i.e. what level they were at) at any given point in the game and adjusted the relative difficulty of the villains accordingly. So, at the beginning of the game, you’d come across angry slime piles that would pose a challenge to a Level 5 team. At the halfway point, there’d be roving bandits that would threaten a Level 30 team. By the end, you’re throwing down with stone golems that’d give a Level 55 team the business. What I used to do is spend hours battling in minor skirmishes to built up my team’s level far beyond where the programmers figured I’d be at each step. So I’d be slaying those slime piles with all my heroes at Level 10, dispatching bandits at Level 45 and crushing golems effortlessly at level 70. I loved to be one step ahead of the game. I loved it to the point where I’d spent 15 or 20 hours over the course of my week walking back and forth in a forest fighting tree elves to level up. There’s just something about utter dominance over an enemy force that is so darned fun.
I suppose that’s why I am gleeful over the Patriots season. It’s like they spent an entire weekend outside of Figaro Castle before their Week 1 game and have just been riding since then at a level unforseen by the programmers.
They are using weapons and magic that just shouldn’t be available to them. I’m pretty sure they got their armor using Game Genie. Despite two close games against the Eagles and the Ravens, there is absolutely no doubt who the best team in the NFL is. After a purposeful performance against the Steelers yesterday, the Patriots have amassed the following season statistics:
Points For: 503
Points Against: 222
That’s right. At this point, I officially think they have maxed out on levels. They’re as good as they can be and are having fun against opponents. Watching Tom Brady engineer an 89 yard Field Goal drive in the third quarter using nothing but passes to Wes Welker took me back to a simpler time when I used to drop Chaos Dragons using nothing but Fire 2 spells. It is this kind of dominance that makes me think that we’re in for some history this weekend when the Jets come to Gillette Stadium.
It is no secret that Belichick hated Jets Coach Eric Mangini well before the former protege started leveling accusations during Week 1. But after the drama of the videotaping scandal, I think the Patriots are out for blood. They’re going to drain their magic points and summon all their Espers for this one and then when they’re done, they’re going to light their Super Nintendo on fire and throw it out their window. It is my belief that the Patriots are going to put on the most merciless display of bald-faced revenge since I hacked apart Ultros back in ’02 on an emulator. I expect 70 points. In fact, I demand it.
Maybe I’ll drive down to Jersey, put on my Orange Avenue Junior High t-shirt and fluff up my bean bag chair for the occassion.
Good luck, Jets. You’re going to need it.