Francis loves video games.
So do most people on Earth in the year 2023, after all.
Video games are a multi-billion-dollar industry that entertain billions of people every year in all facets. Fandoms emerge for the smallest possible titles, and entire political movements form from those gamers who rise up from their chairs and march in the streets.
Francis Bacall, of course, is one part of that massive industry. A drop in the bucket, when all is said and done, but still an influencer to the highest degree. What he says directly impacts the opinions of hundreds of thousands of followers. Those followers then spread that message to others, and soon enough, Francis’s words go viral.
A year ago, he single-handedly revived the once-dead phenomenon known as “All Your Base Are Belong To Us” simply by making enough aggressively ironic memes about it on Y-Cast streams. Soon enough, Zero Wing returned to the cultural sphere and CATS himself became the brand spokesman for Red Bull in a few commercials. Somehow, Lionsgate picked up the rights to a Zero Wing movie, with Antoine Fuqua in talks to direct. Francis himself, of course, did not receive a cent for any of that. But it demonstrated the sheer power his personality could demonstrate.
Eryk Solbourne may be a strong, overpowered warrior of fists and fury, but Francis Bacall is a strong, correctly powered warrior of voice and keyboard.
And the next project he wants to embark on? Playing all the DS games of his childhood and introducing them to a whole new generation of streaming fans. He wants to innundate gaming culture with curiosity and nostalgia for what may have been the greatest period in all of video game history.
If he does it right, he has a chance to finally get Chibi-Robo to become a relevant franchise... but he has to do it right.
And, also, he has to actually find the games to be able to stream them.
Thus begins Francis’s new frantic quest to search for old video games in what some might consider a manic episode but Francis considers a new step in his career. Also technically he can use these games to help Eryk out but whatever.
This Get N Go here is pretty big, a lot bigger than a Gamestop would have been (RIP). And seeing as this may be one of the only used game stores in the entire Kingdom of Santa Barbara, it is likely to be the best selection they’ve got.
Francis has already figured out a streaming plan. His phone has a micro-USB port, and he knows that he can probably find a capture card somewhere in the store since that streamer boom in the early 20s oversaturated the market with countless products that were quickly discarded by the masses. Theoretically, if he just runs a Windows 7 virtual machine off his phone and uses one of those capture card programs, he’ll be able to stream 3DS games just fine. It will probably be harder in practice, but that’s the tough part of doing your day job while on a massive road trip to help your friend become a hero.
So as long as he has the ability to stream in his free time, that’s gonna be all he needs to keep the Bac-Nation going.
The Nintendo 3DS, first released in 2011, was the first hands-free 3D gaming system ever, and remains that way. Well, the model he has here is a New 2DS XL so it doesn’t have any of that, but still. The 3DS was the successor to the most popular handheld of all-time, but in the end sold far less due to a decline in casual gaming in the early 10s. Smartphone games took over and everyone caught the gacha game bug. But you can’t beat the classics, and the DS and 3Ds have got’em all.
The first game, already in his hands, is none other than the classic Electroplankton! It’s an interactive musical experience where you use plants and tiny fish to create sounds and, uh, do other stuff. It’s hard to explain, he realizes. The game is mostly known now for the awful Super Smash Bros. stage, and that is very sad because it could be so much more than that.
He’s already thinking of all the jamming tunes he could make with the game to impress Bac-Nation, then maybe get in a fake feud with Markiplier so they can both compete to make the best Electroplankton songs, and then bam it all goes viral for a week or two.
Another game just bred for post-ironic memery is the forgotten gem Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. It’s a good game that is very stressful, yeah, but it’s also got an amazing selling point—an old gentleman explorer character who looks goofy and can be repurposed as a fake sex symbol among those whose irony knows no bounds. Francis expects to see deepfaked Henry Hatsworth porn within a month after that game goes viral.
But wait, no, he’d probably be better off playing something a bit better-known and more fondly remembered, such as Kid Icarus Uprising. Most people have forgotten the game by now, but as soon as they remember the soundtrack and Pit’s awful puns and the addicting crafting system, they’ll be sucked right back in. Maybe Francis could help influence Nintendo to get off their asses and make a new one?
Then, maybe after that, he can help redeem all of society by giving Codename: S.T.E.A.M. a fair shot. The fact that they live on an Earth like this... Where a video game about steampunk fighters—sorry, steampunk fighters such as Abraham Lincoln and Tom Sawyer fighting against aliens who are trying to gain control of the Necronomicon—ended up flopping bigtime... it’s a travesty and a sign that Francis lived in one of the bad timelines, for sure. You can play as Ike from Fire Emblem for some reason! Why did this game even flop?!
...Probably because Francis didn’t play it, and neither did anyone else.
Steel Diver and its online-only sequel Steel Diver Sub Wars are two more prime candidates for a stupid walk through memory lane, too, and they are both here for just 20 Barb Bucks each. Why are they so cheap? Because Nintendo printed way too many copies due to not having enough games on their system. Nobody cares about Steel Diver... but everyone has a copy, and each store has about twenty in reserve.
Francis still isn’t sure how the money conversion works, though. Right now, the price says it’s worth 20 Barb Bucks. But he could have sworn that five minutes ago when he went down this aisle and it was only 17. The financial advisor Brett did say that prices change dynamically because they are tied to a cryptocurrency... but does that really extend to the prices on the shelf of a used game store?
Ugh, this place is awful. He really hopes they can leave soon.
Ooh, a copy of Picross 3D! But puzzle games don’t really work for streaming. He’d buy it, but he wouldn’t have time to truly treasure it.
You know, though? He really does need some games that will be guaranteed to help Eryk out in his own quest. Streaming is good, but they still have no idea the extent of what Eryk’s Class Action allowances are. He got a point for winning in a fighting game, but will it be the same if he beats, say, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia? It’s a mystery.
So Francis should buy a few fighting games just in case.
Too bad that the 3DS and DS don’t really have very many of those...
The only ones here are a bunch of crappy anime fighting games. Not even Eryk could find those interesting... Well, the most famous one Jump Ultimate Stars, a big crossover of a hundred different mangas, is here and not too expensive, only 250 Barb Bucks—wait it’s 510—wait it’s 337. But that game is actually an import, and it’s all in Japanese. Will Eryk be able to follow along with that game? Well, if he needs help, Francis will be glad to lean over his shoulder and get really close to him to guide his way through the menus and tutorials.
In the end, the only games he finds that are convincingly enough of fighters that they will definitely work for Eryk are Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (he’s never heard of it) and Naruto: Ninja Destiny (some retro anime thing).
Those will have to do...
Francis loves video games. He wishes he could spend the entire day in Get N Go, reminiscing about titles like Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol and Pocket Card Jockey and other games of his youth. Alas, he is on a journey, and that journey requires sacrifices.
He still spends like seven thousand Barb Bucks on video games, though.