Perhaps I overstated my affinity for the NES last week. Chalk it up to holiday nostalgia and one too many peppermint (schnapps) mochas.
Yes, without any irony, I can say that Nintendo changed my life. My time in the company of 8-bit wonderment gave me great insight into myself and it also taught me how to string together caustic combinations of profanity.
I said that I loved the NES, but I didn't say I was any good at it. The hand-eye coordination that eluded me in physical sports was not much better in the lands of Hyrule or the Mushroom Kingdom. Not only did I have trouble with real girls in high school - I couldn't even go the distance for Princess Peach.
Thankfully, I've finally found a voyeuristic outlet for at least one of my deficiencies.
Sanctuary Crew is a small contingent of live-streaming gamers based in the East Valley. Their leader and founder, Firehawke, is a local code monkey from Apache Junction who founded the group in 1997 to maintain the social aspect of gaming and to provide an alternative to the general jackassery brought about by anonymity in online play (ever played Call of Duty for more than an hour?).
Using the live streaming platform popularized by Justin.tv, Sanctuary Crew battles bosses and broadcasts the game play from every system, but Firehawke has a special place in his heart for the old-school.
"I started with the (Atari) 2600, but the NES is probably my favorite overall. Mega Man 2, Castlevania, Metroid," he says. "I have great memories of playing those with friends over the years, but there are too many good games to pick just one"
Currently, The 'Hawke and Sanctuary Crew have 860 subscribers to their two channels with 30-40 people on average checking in to see him and his team soundly thrash some of the toughest challenges of the classic gaming era. (Curse you, Rygar!)
Last Spring, Firehawke took it upon himself to broadcast a nonstop play through every Mega Man game in response to the publisher's assertion that the series was no longer popular with American audiences.
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Sanctuary Crew is also an annual participant in 90+ hour marathon gaming sessions to bring awareness and fundraising to pediatric cancer patients at PCH through the Extra Life charity challenge.
So for well-meaning but mediocre gamers everywhere (myself included): enjoy the new minibosses album. Keep cinching up your pants with your hip classic controller belt buckle. But please, keep your nerd rage in check as you attempt the impossible platform triple jump for the eighty-third goddamn time. At some point, it's just best to leave that kind of work to the pros at Sanctuary Crew. You were out of saves anyway.