November 10, 2006, was a day for the ages. I received my last package of “ultra rare” Super Famicom games. It took a month of collaborating but finally my mercenary over in Japan finished the job, and what a job he did. With this score, I was pretty much set.
But I had no time to revel in its magnificence. I was on my way to a wedding banquet with my good friend, Eddie. Who got hitched? Our old high school friend Christina, Eddie’s old flame. And despite his efforts in coaxing me otherwise, I knew he still had feelings for her.
She’s the one he let get away, folks… and man… she’s a keeper.
By the time we got off the freeway it was dark and pouring. We were forced to stop at a train track. As the heavy rain drops pelted the roof of his car, with the loud rumbling of the train roaring past us, it happened.
JESSIE’S GIRL blared on the radio. Its cheesy yet classic 80s pop rock, not to be outdone by the tumultuous train, sliced through the cold night air with fierce vengeance.
I expected him to change the station, but he never did.
As the train roared on for what felt like an eternity, we sat there in silence, taking in the ambiance. I feared the lyrics would drive him over the edge…
Jessie is a friend.
Yeah, I know he’s been a good friend of mine,
But lately something’s changed; it ain’t hard to define.
Jessie’s got himself a girl and I wanna make her mine.
Y’know I feel so dirty when they start talkin’ cute,
I wanna tell her that I love her but the point is prob’ly moot.
And I’m looking in the mirror all the time.
Wondering what she don’t see in me,
I’ve been funny I’ve been cool with the lines;
Ain’t that the way love’s supposed to be?
I WISH THAT I HAD JESSIE’S GIRL!
Tell me, where can I find a woman LIKE THAT?
I don’t know if it was the tranquility of that moment or some epiphany he later reached while parallel parking, but the night was full of fun and frivolity. He showed no signs of lamenting her. That night he finally put the past behind him.
Capping the night off, I arrived home tired but with enough energy left to eagerly open the big box. These games took me forever to find. And this next game is one of them.
Slated to be released in the states as CYBER SLIDER, the furry little guy was replaced by a robot devoid of any charm or personality. It was canned. Thankfully this version is available in all its original glory. The title character is a likable fuzzball, who awakens when you press start. Hey, where have I seen him before?
IT LOOKS LIKE EITHER A PLATFORMER OR A PUZZLER
But of course. In this case, puzzler. With some action elements.
SO HOW DOES IT PLAY?
You move Keeper around a five-by-five grid arranging stones. Your goal is to match 3 (or more) like-colors or like-shapes, vertically or horizontally.
In addition, players have the option of changing the character into a girl or boy. The stone designs, the default being sea related things, can also be switched to letters of the alphabet or fruits. It doesn’t change the gameplay but it’s always nice to have choices.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THE LITTLE BASTARD?
I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. Don’t you dare mock my cute little Gizmo knockoff. At any rate…
You can move around the borders of the 5×5 grid.
Keeper can also pull the blocks. I love the little sweat animation that Keeper has when pulling a stone. It’s little charming details like this that make this game a joy to play.
Players can jump ON stones and move around ON them to strategically push another stone elsewhere, provided there’s room.
WHAT MODES OF PLAY ARE AVAILABLE?
1 Player Regular
Grid starts out empty. Every 3 seconds a stone appears. Once the grid fills up it’s game over.
1 Player Puzzle
You must clear all the preset stones.
2 Player Regular
You and a friend play on the same 5×5 grid, helping each other out.
2 Player Versus
First one to clear a set amount of stones win (customizable from 1 to 99, default being 30). There’s also an option for “attack mode” which allows one player to stun the other for a few seconds if they push a block over their rival.
The 1 Player Puzzle mode has 60 stages to tackle. A password is granted after each completed level. Those who enjoy contemplatively staring at the screen until inspiration breaks with a resolute “A-HA!” will especially love this.
A look at the first couple levels, then.
Just make sure you don’t accidentally clear 3 here instead of 5…
They serve as a wild card. And since there are only two blues…
There’s something I really enjoy about the single screen puzzle action genre. Games like Little Magic and Keeper are mind-bending challenges where you could spend 20-30 minutes just nailing down one stage and being completely satisfied with. Keeper is full of charm, personality and challenge. The fact that there is a 2 player mode (co-op AND competitive, no less) puts Keeper ahead of Little Magic for me. If you love these style of games, you can’t go much wrong here. Keeper is simply, er, a keeper. Sorry. It’s a shame we were deprived of Cyber Slider here in the US, but at least we have Keeper to keep us company. And what fine company indeed it is.
Throughout the course of history, man has always been mystified, befuddled and captivated by the female race. Whether it was your first serious crush in the 5th grade or “the one you let get away,” since the dawn of civilization men have longed to find the right partner. For some it comes easier than others. Regardless, safe to say many of us will agree that we’ve all experienced some type of heartbreak and success along the way. Some have already found “true love.” Others are still searching. The rest simply may not (yet) care.
Whichever end of the spectrum you fall under, you have to admit, the relationship dynamics between man and woman is a timeless tale, almost akin to that of good vs. evil (and Lord knows which one we are). Tonight, I’m proud to present to you a great story of man and woman. From the days of when cavemen threw down to prove their love and gain the affection of fair Ms. Cave Lady, when it comes to love, all bets are off. Maybe gloves, too. Sometimes, you can’t even trust your own friends…
But does love really, truly conquer in the end?
IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT
Growing up in the late ’80s to mid ’90s was a glorious time. Among awesome Saturday morning cartoons and toys, you had the 8-bit NES phenomenon, the epic 16-bit rivalry, the 2D Fighting Game Golden Age, the DooM era, Nickelodeon, Hulkamania, Michael Jordan, and so on. Of course, such a list would be incomplete without mentioning those four magical letters…
C’mon, think back some 25 years… what ruled Friday nights?
TGIF exploded onto the scene in the late ’80s and enjoyed many successful years of high viewership. My favorite lineup? Full House, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers and Step By Step. Just two straight hours of enjoyable family programming. There was nothing like dashing out of school every Friday afternoon, beating the record you set the previous Friday, hanging out at your best friend’s house (or vice versa), playing video games galore and then at 8 plunking your little hiney right in front of the tube. You knew for the next two hours you were set for a night of good laughs and cheers. What a terrific way to ring in the weekend! Oh kids today don’t know what they’re missing…
My favorite show from the TGIF lineup was a dead tie between Full House and Family Matters. During Full House‘s infancy, the show had six characters: Danny was the father of DJ, Steph and Michelle Tanner. His wife Pam sadly passed away. To help Danny raise the three girls you have Danny’s brother-in-law (Pam’s brother), Uncle Jesse, and Danny’s best pal, Joey. Shenanigans and sappy pep talks ensued. It’s corny but to me that was part of its charm.
Tonight, I pay tribute to my favorite episode from one of my all-time favorite shows.
It’s got the lot, this one:
Mr. Potato Head
Abe Lincoln on a stick
Oh yeah[Sounds a bit dodgy… -Ed.]
So go ahead — don your fanny pack and throw on a snap bracelet — because we’re about to wind up the wayback machine and pay a visit to simpler times.
WHERE WE’RE GOING TONIGHT, BABY, WE DON’T NEED ROADS!
Enjoy. And of course, we gotta start with the Full House intro, no?
JESSE’S GIRL (original air date: November 6, 1987)
“I WAS NOT — I heard a noise down here; I thought it was a prowler.”
“SHHH! Follow me, I think it’s over here…”
“Well actually girls, um, your uncle Jesse’s holding a bat because he’s a WEE bit miffed at me.”
“A WEE bit miffed?? I’m miffed off! When I think about what you did to me…”
“Come on Jesse! Let’s let bygones be bygones…”
“Alright — bye, YER GONE.“
“I don’t know what’s going on here, but why don’t you guys just STOP this and… give each other a hug.”
“I’m not in the mood. You know why? I’ll tell you why. It’s all because of a little story entitled Mean Mr. Joey Stabs Sweet Innocent Uncle Jesse In The Back.”
“Girls, you don’t want to hearMean Mr. Joey Stabs Sweet Innocent Uncle Jesse In The Back, do you?”
“Yeah, it’s got a great title!”
“All right, one quick story but DON’T even think of staying up to watch Letterman. This better be PG.”
“It all started last week. The exterminator business was slow so I decided to start teaching guitar. I was waiting for my new student to show up…”
“She’s a laaaaay-deeeee. Sh — no, she’s a wooomb-maaan. *pause* She’s a moo-chaaaaa-chaaaa. … Maybe she’s a man.”
“Uncle Jesse, there’s a girl here to see you. This one’s GREAT.”
“Oh, that must be my new guitar student.”
“Yeah, RIGHT… come on in!”
“I’m Corina Spicer.”
“I’m Jesse Cochran.”
“… I’m outta here!”
“Corina… that’s a real pretty name… SO! Welcome to the Jesse Cochran School of Music. I’ll take this for ya.” *takes guitar*
“Interesting decor… I don’t meet a lot of men with pink little bunnies on their walls.”
“I’m also a mouseketeer.”
“I like that in a man.”
“Good! Cause today is ‘Anything Can Happen’ day…”
“Jesse, I have to warn you. I have absolutely NO musical experience. I teach 2nd grade and I wanna accompany my kids in sing-alongs.”
“I tell you what, as soon as we’re done, I’ll help you sew Mr. Teddy’s head right back on Mr. Teddy’s body.”
“Yer pretty — WATCH HIM!“
“Haha, my little niece, I could just eat her up… OK, back to music.”
After the lesson I invited Corina out for a little ride on my motorcycle. Seven hours later…
“You wanna stay and have a drink?”
“Oh I really can’t, I got other plans but thank you for a GREAT day. Guitar lessons, a picnic by the bay, candlelight dinner in the wine country. You do this for ALL your students?”
“Your check’s in the mail.”
“I’ll see you next lesson, Wednesday night.”
“OK… Corina, I had a really nice time today.”
“Those are my nieces.”
“Heh… bye Jesse.”
“Bye Corina…” *closes door* “HAVE MERCY!“
“Oh brother, not again.”
“Ohh-kaaay, what’s her name?”
“OK fine, you guys crack all the jokes you want. But I’m tellin’ ya, when our eyes met, there was magic.”
“With you there’s always magic. You should wear a top hat and pull white doves out of your pants.”
“In Jesse’s defense, when it comes to love, I think anything is possible. I felt the same instant magic when I met Pam. She walked into my tenth grade geometry class, sat down right next to me and I said (speaks in high pitched voice), ‘Hi, can I borrow your slide rule?'”
“You didn’t reach puberty by the tenth grade?”
“Not ’til I met Pam. But the next morning, I woke up with a mustache.”
“Hey guys, you know how I know it’s real? I can’t stop smiling. I’m just smiling away like I’m Nancy Reagan… I just can’t stop smiling…”
“Jesse, please stop making out in front of my kids.”
“NOT THE STRETCHING THING, THE BACKSTABBING THING!”
“Hey could you pick up the pace a little bit? I’d like to get the girls to bed before Good Morning, America.”
“Well, it was stormy, and me, Danny and the girls were getting ready to watch The Wizard of Oz…”
“Here we goooo! Popcorn du jour, all in honor of Stephanie’s first viewing of The Wizard of Oz.”
“You should be, honey, it’s the sweetest little movie. There’s this pretty girl Dorothy, and she’s got this adorable dog, Toto, who gets… kidnapped by this horrible witch… but she gets her dog back and her house flies through the air and then… it, it lands on this… other horrible witch… whose feet curl up like party favors.
Trust me honey, it’s the sweetest little movie.”
“Hi, I’m Joey, can I help you please?”
“I’m here to see Jesse.”
“Aren’t they all?”
“I’m Corina Spicer. I have a guitar lesson.”
“Oh, uh Jesse called to say he’s running a little bit late. Would you like to watch The Wizard of Oz with us?”
“Oh that’s my favorite movie.”
“Oh mine too. Come on in. Uh Corina this is Danny, Stephanie, DJ and Michelle. Corina.”
“Oh dad something happened to the TV. It’s snowing in Kansas.”
“The cable goes out every time there’s a storm.”
“Steph, this is not something I can fix.”
“Steph, I’m gonna call the cable company.”
“You’ll get a BUSY signal. FIX IT!“
“Hey no problem. I do that Wizard of Oz bit in my act.”
“SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING, I’m very upset!”
“OK everyone, gather around for The Wizard of Oz. Grab a seat right in front. Here we go!”
“Oooh, sure is scary around these parts. There’s probably lions and tigers and bears oh my. C’mon you guys. Lions and tigers and bears oh my! LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS OH MY!!“
“RRRRRRRRAAAAAH-HAAAH-HAAAH-HAAAH-HAAAH! PUT ‘EM UP PUT ‘EM UP! IF I… WERE THE KING… OF A FOOOORRRRREST… HA-HA-HA!”
“I’m melting… melting… I feel like… butter!“
“If Oz had the power to get back to Kansas, just click your heels together three times and say, There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”
*makes tornado sound* “Dorothy, wake up, your tea’s finished.”
“Well, what did you think?”
“Oh Joey, I loved it!”
“Yeah. That was incredible simulation. I hope you don’t feel bad when I rent the tape tomorrow. OK girls, come on, it’s time to get into your pajamas and ready for bed.”
“This should only take… five or six hours… good night!”
“Aww, great kids.”
“Yeah they’re the greatest kids in the history of kids.”
“I love how children are SO open and natural. I think that’s why I went into teaching.”
“Ohhh, you seem pretty grown up to me.”
“Haha, who, me? The guy who keeps Abe Lincoln on a stick in his bedroom?”
“Joey, you are SO funny. I think that a sense of uh, humor is a very sexy quality in a man. Your girlfriend must adore you.”
“Oh, I — I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“You’re not seeing anybody?”
“Well sort of. I’m seeing the dentist next Wednesday.”
“Well, if things don’t work out between you and the dentist, maaaaybeeee… you and I could get together.”
“Well, Dr. Hoffman is pretty cute, but he is married. So uh, pick a time.”
“How about right after my guitar lesson with Jesse?”
“Jesse… Corina… JESSE YEAH! Ah ha, yeah, uhhh, excuse me, I’m gonna go check on something in the kitchen…”
“Uhhhh, no, I’m doing fine.”
“You know, he’s really crazy about you.”
“Yeah, well Jesse’s really a terrific guy. I mean, we had a really nice day together. But to be honest, there was really nothing special between us.”
“That’s not exactly how Jesse puts it. And if there’s one thing in life that’s sacred, you never mess with a buddy’s girl.”
“But I’m NOT his girl. All Jesse and I had between us was one little innocent kiss good-bye. It was nothing really… it, it was one of these.”
“Oh, that right there, that was nothing…”
“It’s how I kiss my grandmother.”
“You must be very close.”
“It was like four lips shaking hands. Look, I think we can try again…”
“So, where was I?”
“I came in and found you kissing the woman of my dreams.”
“Oh yeah… good memory.”
“So there we were. Jesse had walked in to find me kissing the woman of his dreams.”
“Well Jesse, actually, it’s, it’s very simple. Um, Corina was choking on some bad cheese, so I initiated a Heimlich maneuver…
… And when that didn’t work, I tried to suck out the cheese… using the HOOVER maneuver!”
“… You look upset.”
“OH why would I be upset? You saving the life of someone who’s very special to me.”
“Uh Corina please. I’m not really in the mood to give a guitar lesson tonight. Besides, you’re probably still reeling from that near-death-by-cheese, why don’t you go home and practice.”
“Jesse wait a minute. There’s something I have to say… Corina really wasn’t choking on any bad cheese.”
“Corina, Joey and I should probably, uh, have a word together alone…”
“Look, I’m really sorry if there’s any sort of misunderstanding. I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.”
“Oh, there won’t be any trouble. Jesse and I are very close friends. We’ll have a heart-to-heart, and work this thing out in a very calm, adult, rational manner.”
“I’m warning you, she’s loaded!”
“PUT THE BABY DOWN.“
“Not a chance.”
“OK… OK fine, I’ll wait. You gotta put the kid down some time. Two three days that diaper’s gonna weigh five to six hundred pounds!”
“Jesse, I’m REALLY sorry. I should have stopped everything cold before anything happened. I should have talked to you.”
“Yeah, you were right. I felt this instant magic and I fell in love with her.”
“YOU fell in love with her… you CAN’T fall in love with her, man. I fell in love with her FIRST!“
“I’m sorry, but she likes me more.”
“How can she like YOU more than she likes ME!“
“Boys… stop this. Michelle has enough love for ALL of us. Don’t make her choose. Now both of you, give her a kiss. Go ahead, give her a kiss.”
“So now a second woman had come between us. I wanted to talk things out but Jesse said he couldn’t stand to look at me. Apparently, a Louisville Slugger puts him in the mood for a conversation.”
“I told ya — I heard a noise. I wasn’t gonna bat ya.”
“Alright girls, it’s time to go to sleep. Your uncle Jesse and Joey have told you such a WONDERFUL bedtime story. I’m sure you’ll have visions of jealous little sugar plums dancing in your heads.”
“Well Joey’s guilt drives him TOTALLY insane, BUT NO ONE KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE.”
“It’s a WHOLE different world the second we go to sleep.”
“Good night, girls.”
“Good night, Dad.”
“Guys, come here.”
“What do you want now?”
“Before you guys duel to the death, let’s have one more conversation to work this out.”
“Not with this scum.”
“OK then just talk to me. Let me ask you boys a question, or two, about your beloved Corina. What are the things she cares about most in the world?”
“What does she look for in a relationship with a man?”
“Let’s try this one: what color are her eyes?”
“Green hazel, hazel green…”
“Pat Sajak knows more about his contestants. You know, I DON’T THINK you fell in love with Corina. THAT TAKES TIME. I think maybe… you fell in love with being in love. Am I right, Jesse?”
“I DO seem to fall in love a lot. Just because I’m ALWAYS HOPING that this is THE ONE. I just want to meet one nice special girl I can spend my life with.”
“But you don’t have to try so hard. When the right woman comes along, you really will know it.”
“I coulda sworn Corina was it. Maybe I did go a little overboard. I guess I was just shocked that she liked me as much as I liked her.”
“As much as I hate to admit it, it seems like Corina likes you more than she likes me… GOD, I hate to admit it! Alright, you’re not scum.”
“I know that comes from your heart, Jess.”
“That was ALMOST semi-touching.”
*rustling noise from outside*
“You hear that noise?! I told you something’s out here!”
“Corina! What are you doing here? Come in.”
“I really felt terrible about tonight and I came back to apologize. But then I heard chatting so I started to go home. Then I felt EVEN worse so I decided to come back! … Look, you both are GREAT GUYS and I would HATE to do anything to mess up your friendship. I’m really sorry. OK, now I’m gonna go home, AGAIN, good bye!”
… I may have met you first but I… think we all know who belongs together here. Why don’t you take some time and get to know Joey. He’s a good guy. He’s got pajama problems but…”
“I LOVE THIS GUY!”
“Hug her, NOT ME, ya big dummy!”
“C’mon Jesse let’s leave these two alone. By the way, what were you REALLY gonna do with the bat?”
“I was gonna kill him.”
“That’s what I woulda done.”
“Good night, girls.”
I fell in love with this episode during my Spring Break of 2005. It was 2 AM, I couldn’t sleep and so I flipped on the TV. The stormy beginning set the mood right. The episode hit close to home — at that time I got out of a relationship with a girl who I thought was the one, but wasn’t. It wasn’t the prettiest of breakups, and people got hurt. But that’s love for ya. Or at least the search for love, anyhow. As Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years once put it eloquently:
“All our young lives we search for someone to love. Someone who makes us complete. We choose partners and change partners. We dance to a song of heartbreak and hope… all the while wondering if somewhere, somehow, there’s someone perfect… who might be searching for us.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Earlier this year (February 2016), Full House received a revival on Netflix. It was hugely popular, and a Season 2 was quickly announced. It’s a fun little twist on the old formula. Now DJ is the widow, with three boys, and Stephanie and Kimmy play the roles of female Uncle Jesse and Joey. It is a bit corny, but hey, so too was the original. I enjoyed Fuller House.
By the way, the name of the episode “Jesse’s Girl” was inspired by the infamous ’80s song Jessie’s Girl (Rick Springfield). Here’s the music video:
And here’s a fun/interesting remake of the song, performed by Frickin’ A. Look for the Rick Springfield cameo!
Finally, oddly enough, the character Corina Spicer (Elizabeth Keifer) was a one hit wonder (it was her one and only episode, talk about continuity). Poor Joey, eh? Meanwhile, Jesse went on to indeed find that “one nice special girl to spend the rest of his life with.” (Shout out to Lori Loughlin AKA Becky).
Talk about putting the spice in Spicer. Joey, how could ya let this one get away?