“The machines clustered around the entrance were all Monkey Cong — this had been the case all summer, Monkey Cong was a smash, as they say. Phil didn’t want to think about the goddamned war in Vietnam anymore right now, even if he’d been in the mood to play computer games. Which Phil never was, he loathed the damn things. He had a Magnavox and an Engelbart at home, the latest models, because he had to. They had piles of games stacked next to them, and scattered around, many never opened. The game machines were never turned on unless game biz company was over, which happened less and less frequently, of late.
“At least the home games he worked on had some kind of stories, Phil thought – these hardware-limited arcade machines were just a Sisyphean horror show of doing the same things over and over and then doing them over and over again, ad nauseam. Primarily said ‘doing things’ meant shooting weird-looking living things or eating weird-looking living things or otherwise destroying weird-looking living things: in the case of Monkey Cong, shitloads of cartoon VC who looked a lot like the cartoon Japs Phil remembered from World War II cartoons as a teenager. VC who never stopped coming, not until you died three times.
“You hit them with a big hammer, the Viet Cong, to kill them in Monkey Cong. Phil didn’t get that part at all, was that some kind of crypto-fascist Wagneresque thing? Mjölnir wielded against America’s foes?
“He heard the voice of Monkey Cong himself issuing from a dozen machines or so lacking players, running the nickel-begging tout display over and over. The buck-toothed, twisted, grinning yellow Tojo-cum-Ho Chi Minh abomination at the top of the bamboo cage players had to climb, the last weird-looking living thing for players to smash, the final step before falling back down to the bottom and starting again, Monkey Cong after Monkey Cong shouted over and over: ‘ME PRAY JOKE, AMELICAN: I RIIIIIIIIIVVVE.'”