The Internet has shamefully taken the word "epic" and gang-redefined it on a pinball machine while we all look on. Just for the record, here's how Webstor put it...
Well... I'm just a third-rate He-Man villain most of you don't remember. I mean, I'm not really a linguist or anything, but I would define "epic" as related to, or having the characteristics of an epic poem. In fact, I'm pretty sure that that's the first definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Okay, so maybe we made that up. But we maintain even though landing a flip is a difficult task worthy of praise, it's not epic. Historically, epics deal with things like wars among the gods, adventures that span years and in which the protagonist encounters obstacles inhumanly difficult. The Odyssey, that's an epic. Deadpool quotes...cool, but not epic.
Which is why we were completely blown away by an anonymous YouTube subscriber calling himself Hortyort. He has managed to put together something that is, in fact, completely epic. Retro gamers will fondly remember Final Fight, the beat-em-up classic from Capcom starring pro-wrestler-turned-Metro-City-mayor Mike Haggar. Haggar recently resurfaced in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, where he pretty much dominates.
Well, Hortyort went back to Haggar's roots and reworked about half of the game into a Homeric opus chronicling Haggar's quest to save his daughter and Metro City from the grip of the Mad Gear Gang. There is one difference, though. In Hortyort's ballad, Haggar is shot by a crooked cop, offered a place at Odin's side for the battle of Ragnarok and responds by returning to Earth by piledriving the Norse god.
Even Achilles never pulled that off, meaning that for maybe the first time the Internet has birthed something truly epic...and, of course, it's about old video games. Check it out below.
Despite wishing to remain anonymous, Hortyort agreed to a short interview. Check it out on page 2.
Art Attack: Are you a professional poet? This is really good!
Hortyort: I'm nobody in particular and I haven't really done anything else Internet-wise, except for a spoof film noir trailer of a Pokémon game. And a couple of "Let's Plays," if you're into that sort of thing. I'm certainly not a professional poet. This is actually the first poem I've ever written, if you even want to call it a "poem." I'd say it's just some verse that rhymes, personally.
I should also mention that the idea was conceived as part of a competition on the Something Awful forums, the goal of which was to portray one stage of Final Fight in an artistic manner. Check out some of the other entries. They're worth your time.
AA: Why use Mike Haggar instead of another protagonist from Final Fight like Cody or Guy?
H: Why filet mignon over ground beef? Haggar is the man. That's all there is to it. Also, have you tried finding rhymes for "Cody?" It's not easy.
AA: What made you suddenly say, "Fuck it, Haggar goes to Asgard and piledrives Odin?"
H: When I was recording the Final Fight footage, I was getting killed a lot. I wasn't sure how to work that into the verse, because I didn't want to have to keep saying, "Oh, our hero was struck down. Woe upon us. And then he was struck down again. And again. This would be tragic if he didn't keep coming back."
Eventually, I decided to show only one death and really play it up. Then I thought of doing some sort of afterlife segment, and the whole thing stemmed from there.
AA: What game is the Odin footage from, by the way? We didn't recognize it.
H: It's Valkyrie Profile. The footage was taken from the PSX version, though it's also available on the PSP these days.
AA: Will you continue the tale, or do you plan to leave it unfinished like some of the great Greek epics?
H: I wouldn't mind making a sequel, but it's kind of a tricky act to follow. Once you've wrestled a god and won, where do you go from there? I'll probably let the ballad stand as it is.
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AA: Do you think projects like this could help spark an interest in epic poetry? It's kind of a dying art.
H: Maybe, but I doubt it. If it'd just been the poem, I don't think anyone would have cared much. The piledriver made the video what it was.