The Legend of Dickinurass

Gather round, all, for now I will tell you the legend of Dickinurass:

It occurred to me that we inadvertently recreated the plot of “Ender’s Game,” with my college buddy Jay as Ender, in 2000-01. You see, in our sophomoric apartment that year, C13, we had a functioning Super Nintendo, and a copy of Tecmo Super Bowl III: Final Edition (1995). We played a football season on that game, with each of us as our respective favorite NFL team. Jay, of course, was the Miami Dolphins.

This game had a novel feature for a Tecmo football game: a player editor, in which you could create custom players with custom abilities. Being the adolescent rapscallions we were, we set out to deceive and harm Jay for our own amusement, and for no other reason at all. Entering the player editor, we created a quarterback named “Dan Marino” (coincidentally), with a wet spaghetti-noodle for an arm and less mobility than a quadriplegic. We replaced the real Dan Marino with our own. We also gave him an offensive line made of paper dolls, bearing names such as “Johnny Hugetits.”

The franchise player, though, was given the surname “Dickinurass.” He was a Caucasian slot receiver — cut from our own whole cloth — who we convinced Jay was actually on the 1995 Miami roster. “You just never heard of him before, he was on the Browns prior, and only played in Miami for one year, mostly on the bench . . . .” With cackling glee, every time Dickinurass grabbed a pass from the ersatz, crippled Marino, we’d yell in chorus: “Dick in ur ass!!!” A dozen times per game, for the whole season. 

The Tecmo Dolphins early games were a floundering nightmare. The paper mache offensive line, anchored by J. Hugetits, crumbled instantly upon each snap, as if hit by a localized, highly-effective, high-voltage Taser. This was because each and every one of them was attributed a “6″ in “hitting power” — the lowest score a player could have in that category, less than most teams’ punters had, and also the most important attribute for offensive linemen to have. And the most disastrous for them to lack.

We got away with this because a crumbling line isn’t altogether an oddity in Tecmo football games: if you “pick the play” of your opponent, the offensive line as a matter of design buckles for that single play, leading to a nearly certain quarterback sack. So there was our pretext: “They’re just picking your play, Jay.” Every . . . single . . . down. For the entire season. “Bad luck, man.”

And so the games went: spaghetti-golem Marino lobbing up lame ducks with absurd height-arcs and punishingly slow speeds to a fictitious Dickinurass, who played as though his hands had been severed in an industrial accident prior to the season. And with the Hugetits-anchored offensive line having massive heart attacks and collapsing, without even being touched, upon each and every snap.

Midway through the season, though, a strange thing happened: Jay began to adapt. With the half-second he had before the every-down-guaranteed-sack came, he angled ersatz Marino just right, and wafted his wobbling, cottonball pass across the field. Dickinurass, open. Grabbed. First down. 

Jay started winning.

And then came the “preseason” matches. You see, Tecmo will allow you to have a one-off match, with no season or statistical implications. Sometimes we just wanted to do that, to play against one another. The caveat: there were no custom players allowed in the preseason. Our band of Play-Doh merry men was shelved. So Jay got the real Marino. No Hugetits and his band of every-down-dying-men. No Dickinurass dropping hovering beach balls. No indeed: instead, laser-armed real Marino gunning touchdown after touchdown.

Because Jay had already learned to win with the equivalent of dollar-store squirt guns, he was absolutely unstoppable once given actual, effective tools. Ripping through the preseason games with his high-powered offense like the Imperial German Army machine-gun-slicing through the French in the early battles of the Great War. We had created a monster. Jay was Ender. Painstakingly trained to be the master of the games.

The jig was up, of course, when we went back to the regular season. Jay could then see the stark contrast, as if someone had removed the bones from Marino’s throwing arm between preseason and regular season games. And, of course, there was no Dick in Your Ass in the preseason. 

And that, my friends, is the legend of Dickinurass.