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Wacky Wednesday: ASCII Grip

Suppose you designed a video game controller that was meant to be used one-handed: how might you go about marketing this new technological marvel? Well, you could discuss the merits of using said one-handed controller with regards to helping you map while playing an RPG, take notes during an adventure game, or even drink your favorite soda or chow down on a snack without having to dig crumbs out from the keypad later in the evening. Or you could just go straight for the lowest-common denominator, the way ASCII did in this ad for its ASCII Grip controller back in 1998…

I just…I don’t even have to say anything here, do I? I mean really, ASCII? Really? Shark attack victims  and students injured in shop class are your go-to market for this thing? Yeah, I’ll grant it’s amusing in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, but might you not want to plant the idea that “video game players” = “avid porn fans” in the pages of magazines read by young adults as well as their parents?

Sabrina Whitehead, if you’re reading this, we are truly, deeply sorry you were humiliated and called out in this way by these idiots. You were an amazing, hard-working young woman. Thank you for not ratting me out over that ‘gravitational theory’ incident even though, in hindsight, it was a terribly immature thing to do and the custodians did not deserve to have to clean up all of that spaghetti sauce.

Also: Mrs. Dinklemeyer, if you’re reading this, we’d like to say you were a colossal jerk for assigning all that homework. Seriously, did you think yours was the only class we were taking in college? Were you under the mistaken impression the rest of our coursework consisted of “go back to the dorm and play with a puppy for ten minutes”? Because if not, what was your excuse? You deserved to find your car up on top of the church that Saturday morning. And yes, twenty-one years later, I’m still taking the fifth on that matter. Seventeen-page report on the industry of coffee bean exports in South America my ass…

Michael Crisman

In 1979, Michael Crisman was mauled by a radioactive Gorgar pinball machine. After the wounds healed, doctors discovered his DNA had been re-coded. No longer fully human, Michael requires regular infusions of video games in order to continue living among you. If you see him, he can see you. Make no sudden moves, but instead bribe him with old issues of computer and video game magazines or a mint-in-box copy of Dragon Warrior IV.

If he made you laugh, drop a tip in his jar at

(If he didn’t make you laugh, donate to cure his compulsion to bang keyboards by sending an absurdly huge amount of money to his tip jar instead. That’ll show him!)

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