I never quite understood it until yesterday, but my favorite Andy Warhol quote has always been, "In the future, everyone will be famous enough to have the Internet come to their rescue for 15 minutes, or until some more really goofy Anthony Weiner sexts leak." Phoenix's own Random -- alias Mega Ran -- is on the receiving end of the Internet's distributed generosity Wednesday, as Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and Redditors put out a dragnet for his missing Nintendo 3DS, lost somewhere on last week's West Coast tour.
If that doesn't sound to you like the most important thing the Internet will do today -- well, Mega Ran would probably agree with you. The former teacher, with other members of The Writer's Guild, is organizing a school backpack drive at Club Red for the beginning of August.
(But it might change your mind to know it's a 3DSXL; you can really only understand the scope of his misfortune if you bought the far inferior smaller version, like I did.)
I'd seen Mega Ran perform only nce before he opened for the Protomen this month in Scottsdale, and it was at the Seattle's massive annual video game convention, the Penny Arcade Expo. At PAX, it was no surprise at all to see people respond to his music, which is one of only a few hip-hop oeuvres that demands you have an opinion about whether Final Fantasy VI is better than Final Fantasy VII.
That is, I liked his music a lot, but I couldn't tell how much he was connecting with other people, because he and I and everyone else in town were Nintendo-culture refugees already. At any given moment during PAX 10,000 Nintendo 3DSXLs are lost somewhere on the streets of Seattle, where resourceful grunge bands burn them for warmth.
At Pub Rock, where "Eyes on Me" is somewhat less likely to be on everybody's Zune going in, it was easier to experience the connection he makes through NES songs that might seem like novelties or nostalgia exercises at a glance.
At a venue filled with prog-rocky Protomen fans and 3DS owners who might go out to a show every two years or so, he made an instant connection. He turned up an audience who not only appreciated that he could tease a song with, "This is Mega Man 2, of course," but also felt placated when he added, "In Japan that's Rock Man."
It was a crowd that booed The Big Bang Theory on command.
That's an audience that -- having watched over the last 10 years as everyone began self-identifying as a geek, asThe Avengers
became the highest-grossing movie ever -- wants to carve off a chunk of geek identity for itself. (Ran himself had a rough shibboleth for it: If you weren't "persecuted forPokémon
," you weren't classified within this particular geek genus.)
I realized halfway through that show that I'd unwittingly worn a video game shirt, so it's maybe not perfectly accurate to speak of that audience in the third person.
In any case, it's an audience that understands the sentimental value that accrues to a Nintendo DS, which after all is carrying your personal Mii around. (The cash value, too -- those "Virtual Console" downloads of old games can get pricey, especially if you're looking to play all six NES Mega Men.)
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It's also an audience that knows how to make things happen on the internet's inexplicable-meme incubators. So if any fanbase could find a 3DSXL sitting somewhere in the space between San Diego and Las Vegas -- well, they've at least got a better shot than the Directioners.