Sunday, January 20, 2013

Just a Fraggin' Civie

The post-match in-game diss after beating down an opponent in Street Fighter was, once upon a time, one of the most empowering moments one could have at the arcade, before fighting game writing became all iterative banalities and pandering self-references (well, and before arcades died off). From the trailblazing age of video game "translations" done by non-writers who were surely not fluent in at least one, if not both, of the languages they were supposed to be working with, who could ever forget such classics as "Go home and be a family man" (even if the opponent was female), "I will meditate and then destroy you" (even though the fight is already over), "Seeing you in action is a joke" (says Blanka, of all people), and my personal favorite, "My strength is much greater than yours"?

Another of Capcom's arcade slugfests, Saturday Night Slam Masters (known in Japan as Muscle Bomber - The Body Explosion), the pro wrestling game that mashed together beat 'em ups and 2D fighters, was unique in having the broken-faced loser of a match give a few words. On the bottom here is what you would see whenever Gunloc, the well-rounded American character, was defeated in a tag-team match:

Fraggin' Civies

Yes, you read that right: "YOU FRAGGIN CIVIES."

What. The. Frag?!

I really can't say for sure, but I'm guessing it's meant to be understood as "You freaking civilians" in the vernacular of wherever in America Gunloc is supposed to hail from (according to the Saturday Night Slam Masters attract mode, "Slam Town, USA," wherever that might be). But what would "You freaking civilians" even mean? Who are these civilians or "civies," whom the beaten Gunloc is addressing with such contempt? Are they the pro wrestlers who just handed Gunloc and his Russian partner, Biff Slamkovich, their asses? Are they the fans in attendance crying out for blood? Might they even be the players at the joysticks, who let their characters down? Or is this merely a gratuitous allusion, like most of Gunloc's pre- and post-fight dialogue (his team win quote is "You two couldn't even survive basic"), to some undeveloped backstory for the character as a military man, much like a certain Street Fighter who was once rumored (arising from a localizer's fancy) to be a relative of his? I have no idea.

Baffling though they may have been, Gunloc's words nevertheless stayed with me. I began to warm to "Fraggin' Civies" as potentially a great, tongue-in-cheek name, if not for a band, then perhaps for a no-holds-barred Internet discussion forum in the vein of the sadly now-defunct Higher Voltage (AKA HerV, which does live on in some form here). Man, that was the forum that had Kerri Hoskins herself (Mortal Kombat 3's Sonya Blade, now Kerri Branson, a mother of fourpersonal trainer, web and graphic designer, painter and promoter of the artspillar of the community, champion for children with special needs, and all-around real-life superhero) participating in a thread that began as a bunch of gamer geeks sharing nudie pictures of her from her modeling days. But I digress, and let us speak no further of that.

I never for a moment had any intention of starting an Internet forum, but I considered using "Fraggin' Civies" as the name for a blog. Aside from the potential of it being again somewhat confusing who the "fraggin' civies" would have been (I envisioned my readers and I being fellow fraggin' civies), I realized that the words could be even more badly misconstrued to mean "going on a murderous rampage upon civilians." Even though I wouldn't mean anything of the sort, these are and regrettably have been sensitive times, and the appearance of insensitivity can be insensitive in itself.

Compounding the awful, I also learned, in the course of doing research for this blog post, that Gunloc may have been originally modeled after Chris Benoit, the posthumously disgraced Canadian pro wrestler, who, in a steroid-fueled rage, murdered his wife and seven-year-old son before taking his own life. Gunloc vaguely physically resembles a young New Japan Pro Wrestling-era Benoit, and Gunloc's nickname, "The Florida Wild Horse" (I guess "Slam Town, USA" is another name for Miami Beach, Florida), may have been a play on the "Wild Pegasus" identity that Benoit was using around that time in Japan.

So that all seemed to put the kibosh on my dreams of one day having a blog named "Fraggin' Civies" . . . .

Then again, at the end of the day, I am just a fraggin' civie. Of flags and lines on a map and pieces of parchment, I comprehend little. Only give me my words, and I will own them and do my utmost to make them stand for something positive. And if I stand alone, one man clinging to a dream and a liberty now grown untenable, then so be it. But if what I'm saying makes even the slightest bit of sense to you, whoever you are, wherever you come from, if you are my kind—and whether you are is up to you—then I welcome you, my fellow fraggin' civies. Now let's do this thing!

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