Posted by Hannibal Frost
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You know when video game companies want to repackage a game because of its high sales?
Nintendo calls their best sellers, Nintendo Selects.
PlayStation and XBox go a more direct route… simply saying Greatest Hits or Platinum Hits.
No matter what it’s called, or what color the repackaged jewel case looks like, it’s still the same game inside. The same game… at a lower cost.
The hardcore gamers have already played it. The low cost “greatest hits” tag is just a way to catch the eye of the casual fan, smack them in the face and tell you “HEY, THIS WAS AWESOME!” and “EVERYONE LOVED IT!”
This was awesome. Everyone loved it.
But it’s the same game, Jatt. The same engine. The same journey. Simply wrapped into a pretty new package for the casual consumer. Is that who you appeal to now?
You’re a Hall of Famer. You’re a Level Eight Boss. There’s no doubt about this.
But it also makes you a part of “High Octane Selects”… or HOW’s Greatest Hits. You’re the same repackaged game… just hoping for another chance at the spotlight. You’ve sold your copies, you’ve had your time. You’re not a Fallout 76 or Final Fantasy XIV. You didn’t fail, not even close. You’re a trendsetter. An absolute legend.
But what are you now? Are you the same bestseller, simply repackaged? Or are you something… more?
What are you selling me, Jatt?
Let’s find out…
Nintendo of America HQ – Lobby
“Oh, not-a problem!”
“Yes sir, not-a problem!”
Sandra’s difficult day managing the phone lines continues. She slowly rises from the reception table, takes a deep breath and wanders into the back room where she places her mug under the water cooler and tries to decide between the cold water tap or the regular tap.
“What’s the difference…” She confusingly mutters to herself. The cold water tap is cold, clearly but so is the regular water tap. These are the things she struggles with on a day-to-day basis. Sandra’s eyes dart back and forth between the choices. She’s really struggling. Then, as the receptionist runs a hand through her ratty brown hair, she decides to go in a direction she’s never gone to before.
Sandra pours the cold water in first. Once the glass is half full (or half empty), she slides her mug ever-so-slightly over to the regular tap and pours the rest in. While every day is the same for Sandra, she hopes this decision can start her down a new path…
“Hey, Sandra!” Shouts a voice from across the room. It’s Chris, one of the IT guys coming in to check his mail slot. “Thanks for the Olive Garden gift card! My wife and I just love taking the kids there…”
Sandra’s got a look on her face like she’s trying to hold back from engaging in another conversation regarding Chris’ kids. However, she responds with her ever-so-chipper sounding voice. “Not-a problem!”
The receptionist quickly exits and goes back to her desk. There, she sees a man standing in wait. “Sorry.” Sandra exclaims. “I’ll be right with you… … … … sir?”
Sandra’s taken aback. The man standing in front of her is wearing a strange tan-colored trench coat, the same colored fedora (with a lime green band running across the bottom of it) and a mischievous look in his eyes.
…Oh and what is clearly a fake brown mustache.
Of course, this is Conor Fuse, who has believed he’s disguised himself appropriately, beyond recognition. Who he’s disguising himself from, however, is anyone’s guess. It’s highly unlikely the people at Nintendo of America HQ know of The Vintage. Nintendo doesn’t even have the license to make High Octane Wrestling video games. That’s always gone to PlayStation and XBox. Of course, they hope to port the game on the Switch system soon but that’s neither here nor there…
Anyway, Sandra is rightfully caught off-guard by this man’s appearance… and yet, she’s seen enough crazy people in her time who somehow make their way past security. Plus, Sandra’s been looking for something interesting to happen all day. It’s been an incredibly boring week if you didn’t get that by her recent water cooler choices.
“Can I help you, sir?” She says, while taking a seat in the reception chair.
“Ah, yes. I have a meeting.” Conor replies, trying to provide this dark grizzly voice, like his own voice would be another dead giveaway on who he really is. Think of this voice like a poorly done Christian Bale’s Batman. (And if you’re saying to yourself, Bale’s Batman voice was already poor, that’s pretty offensive. It’s not like Bale was George Clooney…)
Sandra decides to play along. “Okay, that’s great. Let me just check the schedule here. Who are you meeting with?”
Conor shuffles from side-to-side. He was ready for this question, he had practiced it with The Game Boy earlier. “See, that’s the thing. It’s been lost in translation who I’m going to meet but it’s regarding your recent Nintendo Selects games.”
Sandra raises an eyebrow.
“Indeed ma’am…” Conor continues. “It’s about your marketing label… you know, the branding you put behind it. ‘Great Games at a Great Price!’ Really terrific stuff your marketing company is doing.”
Sandra stays silent in her reply. Albeit, there’s only a brief moment where Conor allows her to speak. Clearly, The Vintage is already panicking and perhaps he should have practiced with The Game Boy for longer.
“You know… ‘Your essential Nintendo game collection starts here with amazing deals on games like Super Mario Maker, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning. These classic titles and more are available now for a suggested retail price of only $19.99 each’!” Conor had the line recited, verbatim.
Meanwhile, Sandra is deadpan and Conor runs a finger through his mustache. The lobby is very quiet.
“Ahhh, you want marketing!” She exclaims. Conor lets out a huff as if to say “of course that’s what I wanted.” Sandra picks up the phone and starts calling extensions. Knowing it’s unlikely anyone will be at their desk, she lets Conor know this and he smiles awkwardly upon return. However, Sandra does reach one man…
“Hi, Jordan…” She begins, “I have your 2-o’clock here to see you. … … Yes, I’m looking at your schedule right now on our Animal Crossing branded Outlook and yes, I know I don’t see anything for you but if you are free at this time, I think it would be important to come down here-”
Sandra trails off. The Game Boy has walked into the picture and stands beside The Vintage. There, all 6’6”, 330+ pounds of the hulking henchman, complete with the controller designed lookalike mask, with two red dots for eyes and a d-pad for a mouth, impose over Fuse and Sandra. It’s a little… unsettling to say the least.
“Sandra? Sandra, you there?” Jordan can be heard on the other end as Sandra’s jaw is on the floor. “I’ll be over there as soon as I can, is that okay?”
The receptionist snaps right back into her normal self upon hearing the cue… “Not-a problem!” And politely hangs up the phone.
“Jordan will be right with you.” Sandra places her hands on the arm-rest in front, as if to signify Conor doesn’t have to worry and he will end up meeting with a marketing representative after all.
“Great, thank you, thank you!” Conor remarks. “By the way, that’s an excellent catchphrase you have there. It would work great in a wrestli-”
The Game Boy nudges Conor, as if Fuse was about to blow his own cover.
“Sorry.” Conor changes the topic. “Thank you. My consultant and I will wait… over there is that cool?”
Conor points to the seating area, which is obviously okay to use but it didn’t hurt to ask. Sandra nods while The Vintage and his Mini Boss make their way over.
“Catchphrase?” Sandra mutters to herself. “What the hell is he talking about? I have a catchphrase?”
Nintendo of America HQ – Waiting Area
While Conor and The Game Boy have been waiting, eventually, Jordan appears from the elevators. He’s a heavy-set man, sweating profusely but seems as jolly as ever. He strolls over to Sandra who points him in the right direction. At first, just like the receptionist, Jordan’s taken aback by Conor’s strange appearance and The Game Boy, too. However, Sandra says a few words of encouragement to him as Jordan agrees and makes his way to the duo.
“Hi. Jordan. I’m part of the marketing team.” He says with a smile and greets Conor with a handshake. “So glad to have you here. We can head up to the marketing boardroom. It’s a slow day for us and I can answer all of your questions there.”
“Great!” Conor says, shaking Jordan’s hand in return. “My name is Philippe. Philippe Phuse… or PP for short.”
Conor opens his trench coat, revealing (don’t get any ideas) some kind of Build-A-Bear stuffed “P wing”, perhaps reinforcing his name Philippe. Jordan doesn’t get it, this just confuses him further.
“And this is my associate…” Conor says, showing off The Game Boy. “Meet Tony Diego.”
Jordan’s a little apprehensive about shaking The Game Boy’s hand. Luckily, as he does offer the handshake, The Game Boy doesn’t return the favor and stands there in silence, arms crossed.
“Sorry.” Conor jumps in. “He’s allergic to handshaking.”
Jordan nods at first like that makes complete sense and then starts to question it after. However, one look at The Game Boy and Jordan figures The Halo From Hell can’t be anything to worry about since Conor… eeerr Philippe seems relatively harmless himself.
“So, Tony’s a big Bane fan, huh?” Jordan says to Philippe, insinuating The Game Boy could pass for a duplicate. The three of them walk towards the elevators.
“Who’s Bane?” Philippe asks…
Nintendo of America HQ – Marketing Floor Hallway
The marketing floor is amazing. The walls are covered with classic advertisements throughout the years. You name it, it’s there. All of the classics… Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong and Metroid. Major third party characters such as Pikachu, Kirby and Sonic (Conor still thinks it’s extremely weird Sonic and Mario get along now but that’s a story for another time) are also plastered all over. There’s even a picture of Aero the Acro-bat. Just one but he’s there… and of course he’s spotted by The Vintage upon approach.
“Whoa. Pause.” Conor… eeer Philippe says as the trio comes to a halt. “What the hell is Aero the Acro-bat doing here? He’s a failed mascot. You tried him out and no one liked him. I didn’t like him. My associate Tony didn’t like him. My brother didn’t like him… although he kinda hates everyone. Heck, everyone didn’t like him. Plus, nowadays no one would even know who this stupid anthropomorphic ‘bat with attitude’ is…”
Jordan smiles warmly. He feels Philippe’s frustration and places his right hand on PP’s shoulder but not before the marketing staffer wipes away a horrid amount of sweat from his forehead. “Ah, you’re very clever. You’re right, not many people know who he is anymore… but we still do.”
Jordan brushes his free hand softly over the Aero the Acro-bat image on the wall, as if identifying some sort of misplaced love the character should receive but clearly doesn’t. The group continues walking as Jordan keeps his right arm across Philippe’s trench coat. “Here in the marketing department, we are absolutely committed to the highest of standards. You have to look past the game design… you have to look past the game play in general. It’s irrelevant to us. To put it in the simplest terms possible, you have to ask: how can we ‘sell’ it? How can we build that hype?”
Philippe isn’t really paying attention. He’s scanning the walls for another failed mascot. If indeed there is JUST one more, ‘Phuse’ will find it. He was already excellent at Where’s Waldo.
“Gentlemen, here we are…”
Jordan opens the boardroom door. It’s empty, surrounded by glass walls. Two of the four walls are connected to the hallway, while the other two show how high up in the building they are. The corner boardroom’s floor and ceiling are decorated in former advertising campaigns. The big oak desk that sits in the middle of the room can hold up to fifteen people easily. Philippe and Tony stroll in, with Philippe in ‘awe’ at the design.
“We call this The Fish Bowl.” Jordan says as he enters. “Because all the walls are glass.”
“Well, it’s great.” Philippe snaps. He chooses a black leather chair he likes and considers kicking his feet up on the table but decides otherwise.
“So, fellas.” Jordan says as he takes a seat, realizing Tony Diego isn’t going to be sitting any time soon. “What brings you in today and how can I help?”
“Yes, yes definitely.” Philippe explains, not really answering the question. “So my associate and I wanted to know all the ins-and-outs of your Nintendo Selects marketing label. See, without getting into too much detail, I know a Nintendo Selects myself and he’s… well… he’s an odd old fella. He used to be the real deal, right? But I want to know if he can hold up in today’s world…”
Not a lot of what Philippe said makes sense to Jordan. However, following along as best he can, Jordan wipes more sweat from his forehead and jumps into the conversation.
“Right. Okay. I can certainly do that.” Jordan says with a smile. “So Nintendo Selects is exactly what you said, it’s our marketing strategy to repackage our best selling games at a lower cost. You see, since these games are such great sellers with high critical praise, Nintendo has already made a great deal of money off them. First, we know most hardcore gamers already own the game. Now it’s trying to get them in the hands of the more… hmmm, casual consumer. By offering our best titles at a lower cost, years down the road, it does a few additional things for us, too. Some casual gamers may not have one of our systems yet. Let’s say, for example, you don’t have a Nintendo 3DS…”
Philippe snickers at the thought of this. Of course he has one…
“… And now we are putting out Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for the low price of $19.99. Well, that’s two games right there for less than the price of one regular game. A casual gamer may come across this, say what the hell, get the games and obviously a system.” Jordan is very passionate about this topic. He takes a quick break to suck in some air, since the sweat is pouring off him. “You also may be the gamer that’s only interested in Mario and Zelda…”
Philippe snickers once more at the thought of this poppycock. Of course he’s interested in way more than those two titles…
“Well,” Jordan continues, “we have you marketed, as well. We bring Kirby: Triple Deluxe into our Nintendo Selects library for $19.99 and maybe there’s the off chance you give that title a shot since it’s cheap. You end up loving the game and now you’re locked into Mario, Zelda AND Kirby!”
“Always am, always was.” Philippe mutters to himself, by now wishing he didn’t bring the P Wing power-up with him and instead some kind of sucking power-up so he could sweep Jordan into his mouth and spit him out like a star, ala Kirby. Jordan continues.
“That’s how Nintendo Selects works. We let our sales dictate if a game will make it to the Selects label but we don’t have a threshold, either. The odd time, it’s strategic. We ensure the box art is the same but we need to make it standout. So we put a gold border around the art and ensure it has the Nintendo Selects ribbon on it.” With excitement, Jordan lifts a finger in the air. “Little known fact, in Japan this branding is called the Happy Price Selection.”
Con-eeerrr Philippe is impassive. Jordan waits for him to say something… anything but it takes some time.
“Yes, yes. I know all this.” Philippe states. He leans forward, insinuating he wants a private discussion and this boardroom may be bugged. “But really, I need the super neat insights you have. See, I’m actually not the person I say I am… I’m from a different world.”
Philippe’s eyes go wide as he leans back in his chair and shakes his head yes, like the information he’s providing is groundbreaking and Jordan may be experiencing shock.
“Ohh, haha.” Jordan laughs playfully. He still doesn’t know how to handle Philippe but he considers him a decent guy, even with the strange trench coat and fake mustache. “Yeah, I understand. As I hinted at, the definition of high selling can be tweaked for Selects. Our Wii U library struggled after the first year and all our sales took a nosedive. Have you heard of Fast Racing Neo? I’m sure you have but to the average fan they probably have not. We put that one in our Selects library because it gained a great reputation and strong critical reviews, even though the sales were lower.”
Philippe holds back a yawn. Since Jatt took him down, Phuse knows he needs to play nice with others.
“Right.” Philippe remarks. “I need more of this kind of info…”
Jordan furiously scans his mind to find other details he thinks Philippe would consider useful.
“Okay…” Jordan begins, his eyes shifting around the room, as if to buy into the ‘room is bugged’ idea. He leans forward, hands on his knees. “You never heard me tell you this one…”
Philippe’s eyes are wide. “Now we’re talking…”
Nintendo of America HQ – Marketing Boardroom
“Well, my friend.” Philippe stands up and pats Jordan on the shoulder. “You’ve helped me out massively. That was solid insight!”
Jordan looks pleased and relieved. He put a lot of pressure on himself to give Philippe all the details and was glad the man in the trench coat and his associate found the discussion beneficial. Initially, it looked like this interaction was going nowhere but Jordan knew he was a salesman and could pitch his way around anything.
“The pleasure is all mine.” Jordan says, patting Philippe on the shoulder and then shaking hands. “Do you need me to show you the way out?”
Philippe laughs. “No no, that won’t be an issue. I have the route memorized directly.”
And Philippe isn’t lying. He knows exactly where he came from and could name every single advertisement down the marketing hallway.
“Thank you so much.” Philippe says once more as Jordan grabs the boardroom door. The Game Boy aka Tony follows behind, imposing himself over Jordan and making the marketing man perspire. By now, Jordan’s entire light blue Nintendo polo is dark blue from sweat.
“I hope to see you guys again, soon. You always have a friend in me.” Jordan gives a thumbs up to the duo before they turn away. “Oh and I love the mustache. Where did you get it?”
Philippe’s eyes dart from left to right. Is Jordan onto him? Does he know it’s a fake? It looked amazing when Philippe first tried it on. “Uhhhh…” Philippe starts, rather uneasily. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I grew it out for MOvember.”
And down the hall they go, leaving Jordan to wonder if the mustache was real or not. Jordan could have sworn it was fake…
Meanwhile, The Vintage and The Game Boy make their way down the hall with The Mini Boss getting some strange looks. It doesn’t matter, Conor hasn’t noticed.
“That was…” Conor starts, “rather underwhelming. I knew every single one of those details. Even the Super Paper Mario Nintendo Selects scandal. I definitely want my A Thousand Year Door 2. Super Paper Mario was supposed to be an RPG, not a platforming hybrid. There’s no way it makes it to the Nintendo Selects libr-”
Conor pauses in front of Aero the Acro-bat.
“I hate you. Seriously.” He says to the picture. The duo continue down the hall.
Nintendo of America HQ – Lobby
Sandra is resting at the reception table before Conor appears beside The Game Boy.
“Hey there.” Conor states. “Just wanted to thank you for everything.”
Sandra looks up from her coffee mug (which has more cold water in it this time than regular water; she’s decided to experiment) and smiles. “Did you enjoy yourself? Learn a lot? That’s great!” Sandra replies to each head-nod of yes from The Vintage.
“Well, my associate and I best be off. We’ve got a huge match to get ready for and-” Realizing he almost blew his cover for a second time, Philippe stops himself. “Thank you again.”
And with that, Philippe and Tony exit the building. Sandra immediately picks up the phone to call Jordan but doesn’t have to. He’s already calling her.
“Hey, Jordan…” She starts. Jordan’s voice is muffled on the other end so only Sandra’s side of the conversation can be heard.
“Yes, definitely a fake mustache, you’re not wrong.”
“… … …”
“They seemed very nice, though.”
“… … …”
“I agree. Thanks for doing that. I thought it would be good to give them some insight. He’s a sweet special needs boy.”
“… … …”
She hangs up the phone, still not clued in to her own catchphrase.
Nintendo of America HQ – Parking Lot
Conor has taken off his disguise and leans beside his lime green car. The Game Boy is already in the back seat, trying to find the room to sit comfortably. The windows are down, so Conor knows while he’s speaking The Mini Boss can hear him.
“Disappointing.” Conor states. “I learned nothing I didn’t know already.”
The Vintage sighs, realizing he may be taking a hard L on the pay-per-view stage.
“I received no insight into ‘Jatt Moto’. He’s going to take his High Octane Selects title and make a name for himself… again. He’s got so much hype around this return, it’s flabbergasting!”
Then it hits him.
Conor’s immediately taken back to the first points Jordan told him during their meeting. Fuse remembers it vividly, word for word…
JORDAN THE MARKETING GUY: “To put it in the simplest terms possible, you have to ask: how can we ‘sell’ it? How can we build that hype?”
“Eureka! That’s it!” Conor exclaims with excitement. He knows The Game Boy is ecstatic too because he is doing nothing.
“Jatt’s all hype! He’s selling himself. And he sells himself well, no doubt. That’s what makes him a star. That’s what makes him a High Octane Selects! Sometimes he arrives to the ring in a golf cart. He always puts on these big elaborate shows!” Conor’s eyes are darting all over the place. Fuse’s mind is overwhelmed with ideas. “And how do you beat hype? I get back to what I do best. I don’t let the smoke and mirrors deter me. While all he thinks I do is play video games… I know I’m way beyond that.”
Conor leans down to The Game Boy’s window.
“Buddy, we’re going to the gym. I’ll drop you off at home… you collect all the Jatt matches we have on tape. Tonight, it’s a hardcore breakdown session of his wrestling skills, pros and cons. We need those cheat codes [scouting reports] looking dapper, no? Then, nothing but ring work and training until the Rumble at the Rock comes! Just like how I took down Scott Stevens. This is gonna be tough… this will be the most difficult task I have going but that’s because Jatt’s a cheat code machine, full of hype! We gotta take him down or die trying!”
Conor jumps into the front seat and can’t wait to peel outta there.
“Jatt’s arrived to the ring in a golf cart… but has he ever tried a segue before?” Conor wonders. “I have, many times. It would really save those legs of his…”
Jatt Starr, you call yourself “The HOW Classic”, you made your employee a wannabe Game Boy and you’ve strangely attached yourself to me.
But the worst thing you did… you took away a moment I can never get back. You cost me a chance to shock the world and beat Dan Ryan for the Icon Championship. You took my first Life… a Life I wanted to hold on to for as long as I could.
At Rumble and the Rock, you can paint me in a corner. You can call me The Gamer and try to get inside my head… try to live my lifestyle. But I promise you there’s more to me than I let on.
Go ahead and play video games while I work on actual wrestling. When I questioned if you’re the same bestseller as before, what I ultimately meant by this is… can you adapt?
Knock off that rust. Dust off that system. A fight is coming for you. A fight I hope you’re ready for. ‘Jatt Moto’ is going one-on-one with the newly released trend everyone is talking about… “The Vintage” Conor Fuse.
I am starting my journey to fight for that Selects tagline. It will take me years to get there. I may fall short but I will do everything I can to keep moving forward. And you… if you’re merely going to ride the fumes of your previous career, you’ll crash and burn.
Let me leave you with this… it’s great that you’re one of the High Octane Selects but are you only looking for that last big thrill, trying to catch the casual fan’s eye? Or are you looking for something different entirely, stealing my style, ripping off my bodyguard and hiding behind your hyped return?
In the end, I guess we’ll find out.
Rumble at the Rock. Are you ready? Because I’ve decided…
Let’s go beyond the fun and games.
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