Marina Square Mall
02 January 1995
"The Punching Game"
I’ve no idea what the proper name for this arcade game might be; we simply called it "The Punching Game". This arcade game was roughly the size of “Whack-A-Mole”, though much different. The forward edge has an upright red stop sign pad attached to a stout post, roughly at solar plexus level. There is a pair of too light oversized boxing gloves (more like bag gloves) attached to the game via short lanyards. Safely behind the punching pad and post is a video monitor that displays a story, and measures the force of your punch in “T”. No one I know ever figured out exactly what “T” symbolized.
The story lines are simple enough, and I can recall three (3) of the five (5) of them. Hey, when you’ve had as many concussions as I’ve had, then we’ll talk about memory loss! The first story line had a purse snatching punk sporting a bright Mohawk and full leather regalia fleeing from a bodacious blonde sprawled at his feet. You have three (3) punches in which to register enough “T” to knock out the punk. I think it took 90T to do so. If you succeeded, blonde would come over and hug her hero, at least in the video. Yah, I know: the game was that unrealistic.
I do not recall the second or third story line. The forth story line involved an onrushing locomotive and some babe tied to the tracks. Okay, I get it; this is an awful way to die. Seriously, has any villain ever done this to someone? Ever? The fifth story line involved punching apart an onrushing meteor plunging into Earth. As if that would ever work. Not that the movie “Armageddon” was oh so realistic, either.
I had first encountered “The Punching Game” on a visit to the Green Pole Road outside of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa back in 1992. I was walking near the video arcade one day when two Okinawan youths pleasantly indicated I should follow them into the arcade. The place was well lit, and I didn’t see any ambush developing, so I went in, and was introduced to “The Punching Game”.
I pounded the pad while the youths and their friends took bets on how many “T” my next hit would register. My very first hit scored 128T, flattening the glass-jawed video punk in one mighty blow to the cheers of my new friends.
One unique thing I learned was that although I am right hand dominant, my left hand punched slightly harder, as measured in “T”. That in and of itself proved a valuable nugget to know.
A few years and a few more exotic countries later, and there I am in Singapore, 30 December 1994. I find a newer version of “The Punching Game” in a game arcade on the second deck of the Marina Square Mall, and give it a few hearty punches: six (6) to be exact, two (2) games worth.
Word spread as wildfire, apparently, of the Yank with the solid punch.
The day after New Year’s I wander over to the Mall, again, to purchase a pair of shirts I had noted the previous visit. The first thing I noticed was that everyone under the age of thirty was eyeballing me, and youngsters were hastily scurrying off on sudden unknown yet suspiciously somehow involving me sort of missions. That doesn’t happen every day.
Not being as stupid as I look (how could I be?), I rolled into the game arcade to find a small crowd of excited young folks gathered about “The Punching Game”. It seems they had a champion amongst them, and I was deemed a worthy challenger. Unlike Okinawa, not a single bet took place in my presence. This one was about pride then, East meets West.
Their champion was a tall, lean, hard looking young man, ethnic Chinese, and all Singaporean. The lanyards for the gloves had been slipped, I noted, as we took turns pounding the pad, set on the hardest of the levels: the meteor. He took the right glove, and I took the left.
The champion had grace and power; I’ll grant you that. The girls were just hanging off of him, too. A rakishly handsome young fellow he was. Surprisingly, he choose to work with a very well timed and executed linier reverse punch, almost Japanese/Korean style, but very effective for him. He would stand ten feet or more away from the pad and come slamming in with great speed. When he would hit the sweet spot, the number of “T” would flash on the screen, and the crowd would sigh their approval.
I punched well, too, using short, heavy chops from square in front of the machine: boxing style, using the torque from my waist and body strength to good affect. The crowd was grimly yet respectfully silent on my turn, not wishing to spoil my concentration I guess.
The numbers kept flashing on the screen: 142T, 144T, 156T and more. Sometimes I would inch ahead, sometimes he would.
A few others cheerfully cycled in, apparently for comic relief. One thin young fellow took a look at the low numbers he was punching up, grinned mischievously, and for his last hit threw a flying side-kick at the pad, scoring the lowest “T” of the day! Having delivered, felt and witnessed enough kicks in my day, I could have told him he was better off punching. Hollywood and Hong Kong fighting isn’t real.
One large fellow stood in for me: he was heavier than I was! Sadly, his punch was only mediocre, and he retired after just three punches.
The crowd favorite indicted he was ready to go again, and we were back at it. The numbers kept climbing as we got into the grove: 168T, 172T. Rejuvenated, neither of us was about to back down.
The machine was taking a pounding, though management seemed reluctant to intervene. I fired in one punch just so, and registered 198T! Everyone seemed excited, as breaking the 200T barrier was in reach! Unfortunately, I’ve largish hands anyway, and the tight fitting glove had just burst apart. The crowd’s disappointment was obvious I displayed what was left of my glove.
The champion held up his glove, too. It didn’t seem as if it would last much longer, either. I knew I had the big hit of the day, though I’ve no idea if I’d “won” the contest or disqualified myself for bursting my glove, or if there were any rules to the game at all. Not a single word was spoken to me before, during, or after the entire contest! It just doesn’t really matter when you get to enjoy the visceral pleasure of punching things REALLY hard [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]
[This message has been edited by Stealthdozer (edited 09-08-2003).]