The wall tiles were white, the floor tiles were mustard-green and we were making toothpaste-soup for Captain Blade. The cartoons started at seven thirty, dinner was at eight, teeth-brushing was at half past and it ended with me and my sister preparing the most disgusting -given our limited possibilities- drink for the bad guys. They were very stupid and always fell fo it.
Goshogun God of the War, translated in Europe as Macron 1, was a Japanese tv series released in 81 and aired by the Romanian National Television after the Revolution. The episodes were bland and repetitive. The bad guys had a mischievous plan of taking over the world, which involved a gigantic robot, the good guys brought forward their own gigantic robot and they fought, using the same animated sequences over and over again. Eventually, the evil contraption ended up as scrap metal, and they were all set up to start over again next time. One possible reason for this never-ending game: the Romanian Television had only bought 15 episodes out of 25 and was looping them. For those in the know, Go Shogun was a parody of the mecha genre, but it could stand its ground as an independent work of art, at least according to Maria (age eight) and Ileana (age six and a half).
However, Pirates of the Dark Waters had a complex plot that didn’t reset between episodes. It was masterfully drawn and animated, which bumped the production costs through the roof and forced Hanna-Barbera to cancel the series half way through – so this time no blame could be placed on RNT for the lack of a conclusion. As these characters were well fleshed out, you could do more than just feed them tap water and toothpaste. Therefore, the game sessions took over dinner-time. Gazing wearily at our mugs of milk, me and Ileana would reminiscence about the times spent looking for treasure on the high seas, together with Rem, Tula and Ioz. The main enemies were Blaf and Konk, the evil pirates, Captain Blade, who was by now a regular, and the harkonnens, because dad had received Dune – The Game on five floppy disks and he spent a lot of time looking for spice on Arrakis.
He also spent a lot of time trying to find the Secret of Monkey Island, the best game LucasArt ever made, or discovering The Fate of Atlantis, where you could play either as the adventurer Indiana Jones, or as adventuress Sofia Hapgood. He spent an equal amount of time reading us Russian fairy tales and, when those ran out, he moved on to The Land of Vam, which I’m not sure how to describe, other than ”poetic communist fantasy with Gods and Heroes”. That’s how I decided my evening games avatar was going to be called Nastasia Sofia Vrahameva, princess by day and magic-adventuress by night, when she operated under the code name Mastara. She had black eyes, black hair and two enormous golden earrings. She was mega-awesome, so Ileana instantly wanted to be the same character, only I was the elder sister and won almost all our fights. So Ileana became a blonde princess called Lily of the Valley, who also had magic powers, only different ones.
Since we were now pirate-princesses, we played a lot in castles and palaces, mostly because of Pardaillan and The Three Musketeers. We organized never-ending balls, where Blaf and Konk worked in the kitchens, the harkonnens came once a week, either a-courting or to assassinate somebody, and Captain Blade coordinated the numerous evil secret societies. Mastara got more and more mysterious as time went by, while Lily became funnier and more chaotic. She was the one who set the plots in motion. She started the Cult of the Sparrows, which proved to be a hit in all three kingdoms, she founded the Cucumber Army and invented the royal seal biscuit press.
By now, game sessions lasted about one month and a half, divided into dinner sized episodes. We had amazing adventures on a space station that was suspiciously similar to Deep Space Nine, we wandered the deserts disguised as a traveling experimental theater company, discovering in the process that Konk was the intellectual of the bunch, we sold the relics of Jack-Iron-Hand and with the money we bought more relics, thus establishing a proto-version of capitalism, and we adopted an Erasmus student from the Harkonnen University of Art, Assasination Department, coordinator Professor Captain Blade.
Even now, Mom remembers the laughter that shook the walls, dad the suspicious silence that fell every time he entered the kitchen.
But all good things come to an end.
We haven’t played in a while. We are now professional, responsible adults, armed with stamps and invoices, who know that if you move fast enough, you can cram one more hour of work from half past eight to half past nine, between going to the gym and binging reality shows on Netflix.
And that hour is extra-important, because, aside from all the jobs freelancers do to survive, we started working on a common project, a webcomic. It’s called Fisksoppa. We estimate it’s going to have about 600 pages and it tells the tale of five adventurers lost on the Seven Soups.
Captain Bleid shows up on page 25.
Written by Maria