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Ohio Trip 2023

Where: Cincinnati, Ohio

When: March 31st - April 3rd, 2023

There's a yearly Mortal Kombat event held in Cincinnati called Cincinatti Kombat Klassic which TruKuu and Koozbane would have to be dead to miss. Some of the best players around show up in hopes of taking home the grand prizes, including some good cash. If you've been following me for a while, you'll know I don't play or even really enjoy Mortal Kombat, being put off by its trademark gory violence. Of course, it's hard to resist a road trip with my best friends and a weekend getaway at a free play arcade with a game shop up front. Besides, the pro players of the classic games don't even typically do the gruesome finishing moves, so I'm usually okay to watch the heated competition whenever I tag along to something like this.

This article is a recap of the trip from my perspective.

Friday, March 31st

I woke up bright and early at 4am on Friday morning. I packed up the last of my stuff and headed over to TruKuu's, RizzyDizz's and Spencer's apartment. All three of them were coming on the trip. Once we packed the car, we headed over to Koozbane's to pick him up. That's when things got a little rough. Well, for me, at least. Once Koozbane joined us, three of us had to cram in the back seat of RizzyDizz's sedan. We initially planned to take 2 cars, the other being Spencer's, but his car was recently repaired and might not have made the trip. Koozbane and myself were the only ones who were in the back the entire trip; the others swapped out occasionally. TruKuu started out driving, then RizzyDizz drove the rest of the way after our second or third stop. Spencer swapped out with TruKuu in the front passenger's seat, since Spencer is the biggest and TruKuu is the slimmest. It was still super cramped back there, but Koozbane and I took what we could get. At the very least, we made the trip without incident, unless you count me sweating out all my body's moisture as an incident. The two tiny little vents on the back of the console didn't reach me, but rolling up my jeans (I forgot to pack my shorts) and taking off my shoes and socks helped some.

We checked into the hotel around 4:30, which had a breathtaking view of scenic... Hooters restaurant. TruKuu and Koozbane pretty much immediately went to play some casual MK matches at a local player named Mclovins's house. I chilled at the hotel for a little bit, when I realized I somehow forgot to pack my phone's USB-C charger, but we had plenty between the five of us, so I managed to survive. I tried to nap until about 7:30 when I gave up and hit up my longtime internet friend ShredderN64, who lives in the area, and he came and picked me up. We knew we were going to hang out while I was in town, but we didn't know exactly when. Thankfully, he had all weekend off, so anything would have worked out. We headed over to his place, where I watched him play a little bit of the new Resident Evil 4 remake while I played with his Kirby Otamatone, which was really cracking him up.

After showing him some glitches in Super Mario World, we went to The Cheesecake Factory. I had never been, but that restaurant is a long-standing inside joke in his friend group, so I felt an obligation to go with him. We were super loud and annoying to the point where I'm surprised nobody said anything to us. We were making up names for foul and perverse Kirby levels, like Diarrhea Destination, Youngboy Yard, Butthole Building, Constipation Constellation and Doodoo Damnation. There were even worse ones, I'm sure. They took forever with the food, though the servings were huge—way more than I could eat in one sitting. We both got this pesto spaghetti dish with two big fried chicken cutlets on top. Half of mine went back to the hotel with me, but Shredder managed to finish his. I also got a glass of lemonade to drink, which was pretty good, and they put sugar around the rim of the glass like a margarita. Very fancy! I got a Ghiradeli chocolate cherry cheesecake for dessert, and it was great! They had a big dollop of whipped cream on the cheesecake itself, then just another dollop on the plate. I mean, I wasn't complaining.

After my dinner with Shredder, we went back to his place and played a little Super Nintendo. He showed me a game called BioMetal, which you should look up footage for, just to see what happens on the title screen. Make sure it's the US version! I somehow beat him at Kirby's Dream Course after that, even though I don't even own that game, so I only get to play it once in a blue moon. We finished our gaming session around 1am, when he took me back to my hotel, in pouring rain, might I add. It was storming pretty bad, so I'm glad we made the drive. I could barely see through the windshield. I headed back then rather than waiting for the storm to die down because, from a message I got from RizzyDizz saying that they had gone to Hooters, I assumed TruKuu and Koozbane had made it back and everyone was winding down, but they were still out a bit later. She just meant she and Spencer had gone. Oh well, I was getting kind of tired anyway. We put the TV on Boomerang and watched some cartoons that were still on Cartoon Network the last time I watched Boomerang. It also happened to be storming back home, so maybe it was just one big 500 mile storm that we were all experiencing simultaneously. I crashed around 1am.

Saturday, April 1st

We spent all day at Arcade Legacy, which hosted the Mortal Kombat tournaments in their basement. They had a small selection of arcade games compared to the upstairs, but this was where all their console and PC setups were. All of the MK tournaments that were held there were played on emulator on PC. Anyway, when I say we spent all day there, I mean all day, as in we were there even after they closed at 10pm. I bought a few games from their store, then played in the arcade whenever I wasn't watching my boys compete. I played mostly Rhythm Heaven Arcade and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. At one point, a guy walked in wearing the same Kirby shirt I was. We kinda gestured at each other, going "eh, eh?" It reminded me of the first time I met TruKuu, who was wearing the same Capcom shirt as me. I met Koozbane at the same time, who told me that my shirt sucked. Anyway, back to the trip. Around 4pm, the gang and I went to dinner at the Ruby Tuesday's across from the arcade. I don't think any of us had tried it before. I got a double smash burger and onion rings. Not great! They were super bland, but my dessert was good, at least. It was a chocolate chip cookie baked in a small skillet with ice cream, caramel and chocolate sauce on top. If I ever go to a Ruby Tuesday's again, I guess I'll just go straight to dessert. Over all, I'd say it was like a worse version of Chili's. ShredderN64 showed up at the arcade a little after we finished our meal. After maybe 45 minutes, he said he was hungry, so we went to Skyline Chili. I was still pretty full, but when was I gonna be able to try that again? I tried their chili cheese spaghetti and a small chili cheese dog. It was all pretty good! Furthermore, after that we went to Big Boy and got milkshakes and pie. Also pretty good! Better than my actual dinner. Oh yeah, I also got a Big Boy piggy bank as a souvenir. After that, Shredder dropped me off back at the arcade and went on home. I gamed some more and hung around watching the tournaments until they concluded, which, as I mentioned earlier, ran until after the arcade closed. All the lights and most of the games upstairs were shut down by the time we left.

TruKuu left our party to go back to Mclovins's place with the other MK players minus Koozbane, who came with our gang to grab grub and head back to the hotel. For food, we went to White Castle for some sliders. For some reason, Google Maps took us to like, the White Castle regional distribution center or something, with trucks being loaded from an industrial-looking building, rather than an actual White Castle restaurant. With minutes to spare, we made it to an actual White Castle and got some grub. I didn't eat a ton, since I was still full from my two prior dinners. Back at the hotel, after RizzyDizz caught that night's My Hero Academia double feature, Koozbane and I played JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R on my Switch at the hotel room. My brother recently smoked my ass in some online matches, so I wanted to get in some practice. Koozbane proceeded to smoke my ass, too. I guess I have a long way to go. I should also mention that I had to go online and look up how to bypass the hotel TV's locked settings to make it even usable for gaming, and to get rid of that awful frame interpolation. The hotel internet sucked, too! I was on data pretty much the entire time. I fell asleep around 2am.

Sunday, April 2nd

This was our last day at the arcade. I bought two more games and played in the arcade a bit, again between watching TruKuu and Koozbane play their matches. Around lunchtime, RizzyDizz brought in Round 2 of White Castle, this time in a huge box, which was more than enough for all of us. I talked to the guy stationed in the basement, and learned how their console setups work. You can rent any of their games and controllers you want, but you don't pay for them, you have to leave something with the guy at the counter as collateral. Your ID, your debit card, he even told me someone left their Yeezys once. Good stuff... They also had a projector with a PS5 hooked up to it, and the picture looked really good. Every once in a while, I remember how much I've always wanted my own projector. I looked up the one they had, and I could get one for around $400 on a good day. I might keep an eye on that.

Arcade Legacy closed at 6 that night, which initially meant the OG Mortal Kombat tournament would be hosted at Casa Mclovins, but due to some alleged problems with the arcade's Mortal Kombat II cabinet, that tournament was also moved to Mclovins's house. Additionally, those two games weren't streamed live or even recorded like the other games, which caused a bit of controversy... or Kontroversy, if you will. Or even if you won't. It's my website. Messages from Koozbane revealed that TruKuu cleaned house with little effort, as expected, but it's a shame there's no way to watch the matches without a time machine and going to Casa Mclovin. That's what we all came for, after all. Back at the hotel, Spencer had me watch Mike & Melissa, which he had mentioned the evening before at Ruby Tuesday's. It's an awful cartoon made by some dude about his furry dream girl, which he screened in front of his entire art class. For the morbidly curious, the brave and the stupid, click here. After that, I slept until RizzyDizz and Spencer went to get the others. I hung back and enjoyed a little time alone with Metroid Fusion while they went to a brewery. They had food there too, but Koozbane later told me I didn't miss much. I was wanting to calm down with my spending anyway, so I just ate my leftover pasta from The Cheesecake Factory. The box it was in melted in the microwave, and of course the fried chicken wasn't as good as it was fresh, but food is food. Once everyone was back, Koozbane and I played a little more JoJo before bed, but we were slow to fall asleep because we kept cracking jokes to each other. We even accidentally woke up Spencer around 2am while writing song parodies about doodoo. Sorry, Spencer! Kody and I were up pretty late, probably until like 4 or 5am.

Monday, April 3rd

I woke up around 8am, three hours ahead of our checkout time at 11, when the others syarted to stir. After we had mostly packed up, RizzyDizz found one of my Switch games under the foot of the bed I was in, which was a close call. I had most of my stuff piled up between my side of the bed and the wall the whole stay, so I had only been double-checking that area. I reheated the last 3 White Castle sliders from the day before that nobody else claimed, before realizing Spencer's Yankee Candle was hiding in the microwave. "That doesn't sound so bad," you might be thinking, but you'd be thinking of the wrong type of Yankee Candle. This Yankee Candle wasn't even a candle at all. It was a cup full of gross crap. This was the second Yankee Candle, and I asked Spencer for the story of the original.

"The old one was a concoction our buddy Dashawn made while we were on a Digital Media trip. I forget the ingredients but it smelled so foul that an attempt to have [Koozbane] sniff it almost got me punched. He made it while we were distracted. The name yankee candle was so funny to us that we couldn't go to sleep cuz one of us would just start cutting up laughing. The next morning I went to throw it in the toilet but it fell on the rim and side and looked like poop so we left it"

That doesn't explain the name, but I don't think anything ever could. The long-anticipated sequel to the Yankee Candle contained oatmeal, coffee, Dr. Pepper, an empty Doritos bag, chocolate and two types of body spray, according to Spencer. You may have noticed there was a foil Doritos bag in the concoction I had accidentally microwaved. I didn't immediately notice any adverse effects of microwaving foil, but a few seconds later I did hear a pop from that general direction, but I'm not 100% certain it was the Yankee Candle. Either way, it made me want to grab my bags and get out of the room a little bit faster. We were all out of the room a little after 11, but none of us got yelled at, so I figure it was alright.

The seating in the car on the way back was a little more consistent this time around. RizzyDizz drove the whole way, and Spencer was in the front for all of it. Maybe halfway home, I took TruKuu's spot in the middle-back seat. It was super uncomfortable after a while, but at least I could actually feel the air conditioning there. Half an hour before we got back to Koozbane's place, we stopped by the last indoor mall anywhere near us for dinner. I think everyone got Chinese except Spencer, who I think got Italian, and he and I got rolled ice cream for dessert. I wish we had time to properly hang out at the mall, but not only was everyone getting pretty tired, but I was running seriously low on money at that point. I spent good dough at the arcade's game shop, not realizing that a bunch of my bills had automatically come out, our trip going through the first of the month and all. A smarter man would have planned for that... Anyway, after that, we dropped off Koozbane and chatted for a little bit before we headed home. He sold me his copy of Zelda: Minish Cap, or rather, he gave me his copy of Zelda: Minish Cap, and I'll pay him for it next time I get paid. Same goes for my share of the hotel rental—I'm SUPER low on money now. Lower than I've been in a while... Anyway, after we got back to TruKuu's around 8:30pm, I hung out there for an hour and a half, then I hung out with israelistyping at mine for the rest of the night.

So that was the trip for me, I hope I didn't miss too many details. I asked TruKuu if he had anyrhing to add to this article, and he said:

"If you feel a post-tourney celebration hangover coming on, a cup of coffee and a workout can do wonders!"

You heard the man.

As a little bonus, here are all the games I picked up at Arcade Legacy:

Blackthorne (SNES)
Dig Dug II (NES)
Excitebike (FC)
Goal!! (FC bootleg)
Sanma no Meitantei (FC)
Slalom (NES)
Spider-Man 2 (Xbox)
Tetris (FC bootleg)
Truxton (GEN)
Urban Champion (NES)

PLUS, two games I ordered online from the hotel, which showed up the day after we got back, so I kind of lump them in with the total score:

Popeye (NES)
Stinger (NES)

AND FINALLY, tack on the game I got from Kody when we dropped him off:

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA)

Pretty good haul, eh? I crossed a few games off my wanted list, and then some.