Jorge’s Dumb Ideas

One of Jorge’s Dumb Ideas

When I first started attending the University of Waterloo, I would commute from Acton every day. Classes started at 08:30 every morning, and two nights a week they ended at 22:00.

Needless to say it was tough to socialize and even tougher to do well due to the [at least] forty-five minute commute in ideal conditions.

I moved to Waterloo soon after.

Another One of Jorge’s Dumb Ideas

When I lived in Waterloo, Dave would visit every so often.

He’d drive up (as he was the one with the car) and we’d either go out for dinner or I would make something. I had a spare mattress that he could sleep on.

It was great because Dave was like a piece of home. I had made a number of friends in Waterloo, but Dave will always be one of my best friends. It’s always easier to laugh when he is around.

Dave usually visited on the weekends, which meant that we would go to the arcade at Waterloo Town Square.

It wasn’t a big arcade, but it had enough games to satisfy the craving for video game violence.

One of the games we used to play was an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game. The actual name of the game escapes me at the moment, but it was a side-scrolling hack-‘n-slash type of game.

The great thing about it was that your characters could gain experience, become more powerful and find new weapons, making it more dynamic than your average bashing game. Another feature was the decision tree. You’d have to decide on which path you would take to get to your eventual goal, which could effect the outcome of the game.

The greatest thing about the game, though, was that it only cost a quarter to play three lives.

One day we were playing the game and we made it farther than ever before.

When Dave and I would play this, we would take turns making the decisions…

WISE OLD MAN: Would you like to take the swamp path, or the forest path?
DAVE: Let’s take the swamp path.
JORGE: Sounds good.
DAVE: [Selects Swamp Path.]

And so we would take the swamp path, which had harder creatures to fight than the forest path, but greater treasures and weapons to find.

Back and forth the decisions went. We were on fire. Our characters were becoming more and more powerful with every decision we made. There were actually a couple of people watching (we call them nerds).

By the time we had we reached a major outpost at the bottom of a mountain and it was my turn to make the decision…

MONK: You have come far. Your goal is the castle beyond the mountain. However, there are two choices.
Go figure.
DAVE: Yeah. Surprise, surprise.
M: There is the mountain pass. It winds around the mountain and may take several days. It is treacherous at the best of times, yet is much preferable to the alternative.
J: The pass sounds pretty bad.
M: The alternative of which I speak is a cave that goes through the mountain. Contained within is a peril so great that no one has ever returned. The beast within the mountain is an ancient dragon. Will you take the caves or the mountain path?
D: Yikes.
J: We fought a black dragon back a ways. He was tough but we killed it.
D: True.
J: Let’s do it. [Selects Cave.]
M: Are you sure? This path is very dangerous.
J: Weird.
D: It’s never done that before.
J: Dragon! [Selects Cave.]
D: Wow. Maybe we should take the mountain path?
J: Let’s go fight the dragon! [Selects Cave.]
M: You have been warned…

By this point there are a few more people watching.

Dave‘s character (a dwarf warrior) and mine (a human warrior) wander into a cave. We walk along for a while, and fight off some lame creatures. We eventually find ourselves standing on what appears to be a cliff. We could no longer see the back wall. All we could see was the ledge we were standing on.

When suddenly…

The gigantic head of an ancient dragon rose from behind us, the darkness itself recoiling…

The black dragon we fought earlier was probably about ten feet tall in the scale of the game. This particular dragon that we now faced was probably a good fifty or sixty feet tall.

We helpessly stood by as it roasted us alive.

Dave backed away from the cursed game, but I relentlessly kept pumping quarters, refusing to believe that a true dead end could exist in an arcade game. I finally gave up after four tries.

The two words that every gamer fears flashed across the screen…


JORGE: That’s it?!??!!
DAVE: Jesus.
JORGE: Who would have known that they’d build an actual dead end in the game?
DAVE: [Loudly, mocking my decision.] LET’S GO FIGHT THE DRAGON! DUH!
[Everyone laughs.]

And this is why we would never be a couple…