“El Candido” was what they used to call me when I was a child warrior. It meant “The Candido,” which meant nothing — a metaphor for my morality at the time.
Our days were spent — my unit and I — gathering flowers and eating strawberries. Our nights were spent following orders by ravaging a small town by the name of Fauces del Diablo — The Devil’s Maw. It was an otherwise sleepy little town along the southwestern coastline of the Gulf of Mexico.
In this town, we would trade our flowers for Indian silk and Italian linen. This town is also where I first stumbled upon the game Do! Run Run, a quizzical little maze title released in 1984 by Universal.
The object of the game is to collect the dots that have been scattered around the various platforms while trying to kill everything else. As you collect these dots, a balloon is generated, which can be thrown to dispatch any nearby monsters. However, if you manage to connect the ends of the rope that’s being dragged behind your character, the dots inside will turn into cherries, which are worth more points– they also increase the rate of balloon regeneration.
It was never a good game, but within the context of a desolate town, terrorized by ex-patriot children who are drunk off the essence of linen and silk, it was probably the greatest thing since unsliced bread — sliced bread, of course, having not yet been invented.
I recall now that it was while playing Do! Run Run that I met Federico Alvarez, a 65-year-old mute blacksmith, half-Inuit and half-Portuguese. Frederico would quickly become the closest thing I’d have to a brother. We would later part ways over an argument about who got dibs on the last Hydrox cookie. Oreos, you see, wouldn’t be invented for another four years, so Hydrox was king shit of cookie mountain at the time.
Our brotherhood ended as most things did at that time in my life… violently.
Do! Run Run is not worth the time it takes to load, let alone to play. But if you do find yourself in a small town along the southwestern coastline of the Gulf of Mexico, maybe you’ll find that old arcade cabinet, blinking and blurping beneath a blistering sun.