Real-Life Power-Up Contest, Sponsored by Insert Coin: And the Winners Are…

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?Near 400 entries? That’s more like it. I imagine I can thank Insert Coin Clothing for that — although I should also definitely thank Insert Coin for offering three of their shirts for this week’s contest. I feel like that might have had something to do with it.

In case you were wondering what my real-life power-up/item would be, it would be the Force from the old Atari 2600 Empire Strikes Back game. It’s not really an item (I’m cheating, but it’s my contest and the contest is over anyways, so whatever) but in the game, every couple of minutes, your snowspeeder starts flashing and you’re invincible for about 30 seconds. I really, really want to be invincible for a short time for dozens of points throughout the day. I could suddenly toss myself into cars, break up bank robberies, eat very quickly at Hardee’s, that sort of thing. Randomly changing colors at the same time would just be a bonus. Now, onto the mentions and winners.

Let’s start by mentioning some honors.


The obvious response for this is the bee shooting plasmid from bioshock.
I only want it though because the majority of my family is alergic to bee stings and I’m not.
Sometimes being the bastard child is an advantage.


The Morph Ball from Metroid.
Think of the possibilities! Escape from annoying relatives! Travel as carry-on luggage! The whole world’s my pinball game!
I’d have a ball!


Snakes camouflage suit……and I would wear it 24/7 and make everyday a specials ops mission or to be able to take a piss in public places without being seen for those days you just really gotta go.

Tome Minder:

Well I don’t know if it counts but since I’m not a big gamer I only really play the Sims. In Sims 2 you can get a Thinking Cap that helps you learn skills faster. Right now I’m in the process of learning French and refreshing my German skills for a proficiency exam so that I can have the skills I need to enter the doctoral program I’m looking at. If I had the thinking cap I’d be able to learn the languages at double or triple the rate. Unfortunately I’d have to use it sparingly and only when I was in a great mood “Gold Aspiration” quality mood.


The Game: Super Mario Bros.
The Item: A Fire Flower
Seriously. I want a Fire Flower – preferably an endless supply of Fire Flowers, but even if I only had one, I’d use it for this: I love to go hiking. I live near a few extremely awesome U.S. National Parks, and I tramp all over the wilderness whenever I can. What I can’t stand is seeing people litter on such fantastic scenery. If I had a Fire Flower, all that would change.
Too lazy to put your sandwich wrapper in your pocket or backpack? (Blink, blink!) Your ass is roasted.
Are you one of those smokers who thinks that the world is your personal butt can? (Blink, blink!) Try smoking this!
I’d become a one-woman anti-littering enforcer, and no one would dare drop so much as an orange peel if they were anywhere near me.


I’ve always thought a Pokeball would be far more useful in real life than they appear to be in the Pokemon games. The ability to store large objects in a tiny space? The ability to trap wild animals and have them do your biding?
Oh, fuck it. Who am I kidding? I’d just watch to capture an eagle, or some creature like that, so I could stroll around downtown with an eagle on my arm.


Scrooge McDuck’s cane from DuckTales (NES). Not only would I be able to pogo anywhere and defeat anyone by landing on their heads, I can also send boulders and bricks flying with a simple golf swing. I’ll even include the upgrades from DuckTales 2 to break/move more as well as pull things and slingshot with the help of rubber flowers. What else would you expect from someone with McDuck as his post pic?


I’d take a power pellet from pac man… then with my newfound, if short in duration, ghost eating abilities, host one of those terrible haunted house/ghost hunting shows that seem to be popping up everywhere. Instead of just recording spooky noises, I’d tear through the house gobbling up spectres as I find ’em.


I want the ocarina of time. This seems obvious, but I don’t want it for the time travel or weather control reasons. I want it because it offers a solution to all life’s problems in exactly the way you need. Just play it and instantly someone’s day is made and they offer up some critical piece of information or help you for no real reason. Car broke down? Here comes a mechanic (or a horse). Difficulty transitioning from college to the real world? Someone with an introductory position in your field likes that tune. Insurmountable obstacle obstacle? Bridge (real or metaphorical). Compact, simple, elegant, and multfaceted Plus, I would finally be able to use my wealth of Zelda tune knowledge. And I seriously hate the rain.


I would like to have my town littered with those stars from the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ games that lower your wanted level. By carefully mapping out where they are and planning a route, I could pull off some daring crimes and get away with them.

Matt Wells:

Can’t get much nerdier than the Super Robot Wars franchise! My powerup of choice from that would be an equippable item called the “Tesla Drive”.
Its essentially a man-made technological black box that allows any machine its plugged into to fly. Flying car? Of course! Flying plane? Somewhat redundant, but yes! Flying tanks? FUCK YOU PHYSICS AND THE LAWS OF AERODYNAMICS, I HAVE MAD SCIENCE AS MY ALLY! Flying giant 1-1 scale Gundam replica?…NOW WE’RE COOKING WITH FIRE!!!
And for any geek collectors of classic cars, I could essentially make a working replica of the Delorean from Back to the Future and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Excpet, you know, without the time travel or turning into a boat, respectively. But still. Flying car…Bonus points for its namesake to the greatest, nerdiest, MADDEST inventor to ever live, Nikola Tesla!


Batman’s cowl from Arkham Asylum.
It automatically highlights anything important I would need to see and I want to know if it works on books I’m reading. I can prescan a bunch of things I need before going to the grocery store in case I can’t find them, it’ll help me track them down.
I could see through walls floors and ceilings, that would save me so much time getting up and opening and closing the refrigerator door. I wouldn’t have to leave the couch. “Are there pizza rolls left?” *vrooot*.

If the area I’m in is poorly lit and dingy, BOOM instant enhanced vision in a nice pleasant blue over-tone. And I can enjoy blacklight posters no matter where I am.
Plus it comes with a built in digital camera and a radio uplink to well researched redhead.
However, above anything else it’s a damn Batman cowl! I see myself using this item more than anything else. You lot keep your spread guns and your energy swords. The cowl is where it’s at.

Greg Black:

Kuribo’s Boot from Super Mario 3. I don’t care that I’ll only be able to use it by beating one specific enemy in one specific area of the world-for that brief, shining moment, I will be piloting an indestructible wind up boot that covers my whole body. Nothing could be finer.


I want a hookshot. Specifically, the hookshot from “Legend Of Zelda: The Ocarina Of Time”
Is it a grappling hook? Yes, when I want it to be. Can it grab me a beer from the fridge? Yes, when I want it to. Can I use it to stun my enemies? Yes, when I want to. It’s the single greatest weapon ever devised. It’s so good, Batman wishes he had one.


Refrigerator power-up from Kirby 64. Right now I’m hungry, sober and cold. I’m pretty sure this power-up could solve all these problems. Is then any among you who would deny that their lives would be more awesome with the ability to turn into a refrigerator and spit food at their enemies?


I want the scroll/whistle-thing from The Legend of Kage. Because going into the forest to watch dead ninjas fall from the sky would be fucking awesome.


A choice scarf. From Pokemon. So I could be a dick when it comes to battling other nerds


I would want that burger Ronald Reagan promised me at the end of “Bad Dudes”

Jim Smith:

I want the suit and airpump from Dig Dug, 1982 arcade version. The reason, because I get a lot of over inflated, self righteous, irritating and draining customers, and some staff in my store, that if I am going to do anything harmful to them, it may as well create a giant mess at the same time. Who needs guns, swords, lasers etc.. let’s get OLD school here, get up close and personal. And just think of the the size of my biceps by the time I have gotten through half the mall.


The clear answer is the Fat Man (Fallout, Fallout 3). Basically, it is a shoulder-mounted launcher that shoots miniature nuclear warheads, and upon detonation wipes out nearly any nearby enemy, and produces a mini-mushroom cloud as a bonus. AKA, it shoots nukes.
I want it primarily because at this point I believe it is the only thing that can put an end to the Black Eyed Peas.

A noble goal.

Ben Siegel:

Medi-gel from Mass Effect.
A medicinal goo that heals when rubbed into the skin? You’d think it’d be something you have to freebase.
As far as I can tell, it solves all medical problems.
Feeling lethargic? Grab the goo.
Can’t sustain an erection? Grab the goo.
Lost a pint of blood? Grab the goo.
Contracted HIV? You know what to do!
In no way do I expect to win. I merely wanted an excuse to overuse the word “goo.”

Brando Lars:

Well, I ran my first Half Marathon this year and while I Had done 5 and 10K races before I could not help but feel very very Crowded at the starting line.
I think that if I could have been Invincible (like the Flashing Mario ) Running through everybody and knocking them off the course instead of having to go around everyone I could have cut my time down at least a little bit. It probably would have been funny as hell to watch too.
So my vote is Super Star from Super Mario.

Stephen Ney:

I’d like a P-Switch from Super Mario World. I’d buy a cheap pallet of bricks from Home Depot. set the bricks up in the garage, hit the switch, BAM. Enough gold FOR life.


The Boo from the Mario Kart games. I could go invisible, steal someone’s shit and not have to face any kind of reprocution because apparently, when you’re invisible, anything is fair game.
As long as they don’t have banana peels. I don’t fucking want those.


I was originally going to say a giant heart or bottled fairy to heal my chronic illness but when it comes right down to it I would rather have a masterball from pokemon. The ability to instantly capture an animal in a pocket dimension, and bend it to my will is a little to oawesome to resist. What do I have in my pockets? Some lint, an eraser and a ball full of INSTANT LION.


Game: Final Fantasy 4
Power: Dragoon jump
Use: I’d use my “spear” and give girls the best night of sex of there lives. 1 turn based move at a time!!

Kick Puncher:

I know it’s probably poor form to mention an example from the contest description itself, but I’d take the spreadshot from Contra. Why? Because as I’ve grown older, it has become more and more abundantly clear to me that it fired classic red playground balls instead of bullets. And I have a kickball game on Tuesday that I’d REALLY like to win.


I’ve always wanted the Pegasus Boots from A Link to the Past.
Why? Well, as Link doesn’t seem to undergo any rigorous fitness training montages or muscle building whatsoever before using the boots, I can only assume they possess some magical quality that enables the wearer to immediately become a super-fast sprinter. Seriously, the kid happily plods along at the kind of pace that I’d struggle with for the first third of the game, until he finds the boots and then zoom! He’s suddenly Ben fucking Johnson.
Of course, there’d be practical uses for such remarkable footwear. I’d be able to walk to work much quicker than I currently do and – as they’re magic boots – there’d be none of that pesky out-of-breath, in-excruciating-pain stuff that you’d usually associate with strenuous exercise.
But most of all, I’d love to use them in a world 200m sprint finals and watch Usain Bolt’s flabbergasted face as an overweight 31-year-old shoots past him doing what, essentially, is a very fast comedy shuffle.


I want some of that Brave+ medication from The World Ends With You. There is one and exactly one function it preforms: making you gutsy enough to wear mortifying outfits in public. I am not even kidding. How frilly a dress you can stick your dudes in is a vitally important game mechanic.
Basically, I want to be able to stroll down the street in a horrible mishmash of lingerie and clown suit whilst giving precisely no fucks about whatever passerby are thinking. I imagine it would be very empowering.

I’m pretty sure Brave+ exists in real life, only it’s called “tequila shots.”


I’d get Batman’s grapple gun from Arkham Asylum as it’s the ultimate gadget for any situation:
-I can use it to escape armed thugs and hide on conveniently placed gargoyles
-If I’m in an awkward situation or conversation such as “What’s Fan Fiction Friday?”
PSHWOOOOOO I can get out of it quickly without further embarrassment
-If anyone ever sets me up with the line “Wait! I never thanked you” I can reply “And, you’ll never have too” and then grapple away (How cool would that be)
-I could win every game of hide and seek ever by hiding on all the conveniently placed gargoyles that seem to be everywhere
-I could forever cut out the tedious use of stairs
-I could survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse by using my grapple gun to hide from the zombies on all those conveniently placed gargoyles that no one bothers to look at
-I could use it to steal forty cakes……Oh wait no that would be a terrible thing to do with my grapple gun


The green herb from Resident Evil; simply because I’m dying to know what they smoke like.


The “Aglaophotis” from Silent Hill 1 & 3, that red liquid that fixes demonic possession and aborts baby Satans (excuse me, Incubuses or Sameals!) You know, in case of inadvertent demonic impregnation. Also, I want to see whether or not it will work on people who are jerks as well as it works on demons. Just think of it: The Ultimate Douchebag Repelling MacGuffin ™! (This would, however, result in the death of the internet and the onset of the real Armageddon, so it’s kind of a trade off!)

Winner time!


The Duplicator item from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, because I can duplicate anything I want with it. Money? INSTANT MILLIONAIRE. Hot wings? AS MUCH AS I FUCKING WANT. My toothbrush? WHY THE HELL NOT. My kids? LET’S START A LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM HONEY. Seriously, it would be sweet.

Being able to make as many hot wings is as brilliant an idea as anyone came up with, but the nonchalance with with Mel was ready to clone children just for the hell of it won me over.


The cardboard box from Metal Gear Solid. Uses:
-Getting revenge on my enemies and hiding in plain sight to see aftermath.
“Hey, who shit on my desk!?”
-Being able to read Fan Fiction Friday in public without feeling shame.
-Avoiding parental units.
-Winning at hide and seek.
-Sleep in public without looking like a bum.
And if none of that works, I can always draw on the inside and pretend it’s a rocket ship.

When I read Dave’s entry, I imagined Solid Snake in his box, pretending he was in a rocket ship, and I laughed for five minutes straight. He wins. Best of all, it would hardly be the most ridiculously thing to happen in a Metal Gear Solid game. I’m crossing my fingers this shows up in the next one.

Kevin Taylor:

I want POW blocks. Yes, the old, classic POW blocks. Why? Just had enough of this day, all the jerks around you, and life in general? Hit your POW block, and then just glare at everyone. “Yeah, motherfuckers, stop acting stupid, or I’ll put you ALL on you asses again.” Could work wonders in Congress…

Here’s a classic gaming item — one of the classic gaming items, in fact — that I never thought would make an appearance in this contest’s results, but Kevin here not only mentions it, but explains why it would be one of the best items to ever pick. God help me, as soon as I read this entry, I wanted a POW block to put fools and assholes on their asses. Brilliant, good sir. Just brilliant.

And that’s it! Thanks again to Insert Coin for sponsoring this week’s contest; if you didn’t win, please give their incredibly classy gaming t-shirts a look through here — if you’re a fan of subtle nerd apparel like I am, you won’t be disappointed. And, of course, thanks to everyone who entered.