Lately I haven’t been able to be on GIO as much as I would like to due to school. I’m currently a junior in high school, and this is the last semester before college applications start to occur. My goal is to be accepted into an Ivy League college, which is no easy task. This semester has been crazy though, and due to a mixture of things, including my own lax nature to homework lately and my procrastination, I found myself at a 1.6 GPA as late as early April. Fortunately I’ve caught up a bit, and am now at a 3.2 with just 2 weeks left. Now, sorry to bore you with the numbers, but the idea is that things are really down to the wire for me this semester. So that got me thinking, if I can’t get on Game Informer as much lately due to homework, why not combine the two in a blog? So in this blog, I will list some of the tensest, most nerve-wracking moments in games that I have played. 
                                      (Seems like a cool band name or album name, doesn’t it?)
 World 8-4 in Super Mario Bros:
       This was my real first test in the world of video games. For anyone who has read one of my earlier blogs, you know that this was my very first game ever. For anyone who hasn’t, this game was given to me when I was 3, along with my green Game Boy Color. About a year after receiving the game, I finally made it to the infamous stage 8-4. While many gamers are able to beat the level in minutes, I still vividly remember 4-year-old me squealing in fear every time Bowser would show up. It was my first true nerve-wracking level, and it was a joy when I finally beat the level. 
            (A classic battle of good vs. evil.)
 Battling Gary in Pokémon FireRed:
       When I was 8, I was addicted to the Pokémon series. I had many of the games, watched the TV show almost every day, and played a little bit of the card game as well. My second Pokemon game ever was Pokemon FireRed for the Game Boy Advance. (My first game was Ruby, and while I have beaten it now, I was stuck on the 5th gym for a long, long time.) Of course, as any Pokemon fan knows, to become Pokemon master, you have to defeat Gary. Going into the battle, I had no idea what I was in for. My best pokemon was my level 60 Venusaur. In addition were my trusty Alakazam, Zapdos, Moltres, Articuno, and Machamp. However, all of these were severely underleveled. Entering the battle, I did the classic mistake as well. I forgot to save before the battle. I had completely healed, but I knew that this was going to be my one shot for a while, since I had barely beaten the elite four by the skin of my teeth.
       After a long and tiring battle, one that went back and forth and was very close, my Zapdos defeated his Charizard with its thunder attack. Oh, and did I mention that Zapdos had 5hp left, I was out of revives, and Thunder was the only attack left and it only had 1 PP. After that battle, I truly felt like a Pokémon master. 
            (In my opinion, Gary is the greatest rival in the Pokémon series, and is truly antagonizing.)
 Rainbow Road: Mario Kart Double Dash:
       One of my all-time favorite consoles is the Nintendo GameCube, and it is by far the system in which I have put the most time into. I still play my GameCube weekly, and one of the games that is always in heavy rotation is Mario Kart Double Dash. As much as I love that game, particularly the cars, characters, and bomb-omb multiplayer mode, I strongly dislike the Rainbow Road course in the game. There are just too many places to fall off, and I’m a player that likes to drift into turns. One day, about 3 months ago, I was hanging out with 3 of my friends, and we decided to play Mario Kart Double Dash. Now we are all huge gamers, and the earlier part of the night had been spent trash talking, and competing in a multitude of genres trying to decide who was the better gamer. We all then decided to play Double Dash since it was a game we all thought we were even in when it comes to skill level. We raced 2v2, and decided to have the winning 2 players duel it out in a 1v1 race. So the race started, and me and my friend quickly raced off to a large lead. However, 2 laps in, I fell off of the track twice, opening the door to the other team. Going down the final boosting stretch, I got hit with a green turtle shell that was thrown by the other team, and almost fell off of the track. So it was the 2 teams both going into the final turns, with my team slightly behind. However, we had a red turtle shell. At the very end of the last turn, I threw the turtle shell, only to find it hit a wall instead of the other players. My team lost by .02 seconds, and much bragging ensued by the other team. 
             (I actually think that this is a pretty cool track, but that doesn’t make it any less infuriating.)
 Playing Spy on Team Fortress 2: Two Fort Map:
       One of the games that I have played a lot of lately is Team Fortress 2. After hearing a few members of the GIO community wax poetic about the game, I decided to get a Steam account, and try out the game for myself. Oh boy is it a fun game. One of my favorite classes to play as is the spy. I mean, it’s just such a departure from regular FPS gameplay, and the added strategy elements really appeal to me. This does not mean however, that I am good at the class. In fact, I’m not very good at it at all. I’m usually really patient and smart about how to enter an enemy’s area, but I’m just really klutzy. I’ll often run into an enemy player while cloaked, and subsequently get myself burned by their pyro. On the Two Fort map especially, I am really nervewracked. Once I obtain the enemies intelligence, I always manage to walk in a circle after getting the intelligence, only to have myself killed by a swarm of players, or better yet, I try to cloak myself, only managing to get myself humiliated by a demo or pyro in the process. 
        (It’s just sitting there! It’s so beautiful! But is it truly top secret if so many people have stolen it?)
       Despite any frustrations that nerve-wracking moments might cause, the sense of joy that is given when succeeding is pretty great, and even the bittersweet taste of defeat is okay on occasion. The tenseness of knowing the seriousness of the situation, and how any small slip-up could be the difference between winning and the dreaded game over screen.
       As always, thanks for reading! Do you agree with the choices? What moments in gaming were tense for you? Do you enjoy these moments? Please feel free to leave a comment, and I will answer as soon as I can. (Also, the images used are not mine; please give credit to the original creators, thanks.)