Mike and I make it a point to hang out two or three times a week doing a variety of no-cost activities that usually include movies and/or video games. Recently, Mike discovered an old Nintendo ROM ridiculously titled Wall Street Kid that we made fun of for a solid half hour before we sat down and seriously attempted to beat it.
The premise of Wall Street Kid is simple. Our title character is the only surviving heir of the recently deceased Mr. Bendict, whose estate is valued at over 600 billion dollars (or so the opening cartoon informs us in its Archie Comics animation style). You start with the paltry sum of half a million to invest in the stock market, build your fortune, pamper your sweetheart Prisilla, and carry on the Benedict standard of living. That means buying endless presents for your girlfriend, a nice million-dollar house, a yacht (we haven’t made it this far yet) and eventually the family castle back in Europe that our hero will no doubt use as a quaint vacation getaway.
The gameplay consists of you sitting in your office, reading the Wall Street Times (sic) and trading stocks like Reebucks Sneakers, Boing Airlines, ATNT Telephone, or Centipede Construction through your circa-1990 compact computer system (presumably a Yapple). The Times gives you information on hot stocks, which types of stocks are likely to rise, and humorous news articles such as muggers becoming patrons at the local shopping mall. You can also pass the day by exercising or spending quality time with your sweetheart (Going shopping with her takes up four hours. Please, kill me now). Smaller icons at the bottom of the screen let you obtain game help from Stanley (“Would you like me to explain the stock market to you for $500?”) or go over to Connie’s office where she’ll give you a hot investment tip and a blow job (not shown). Ridiculously, your initial goal is to double your money by the end of the first month so that you can afford that million-dollar home. It would be far too easy for our hero to simply rent a classy apartment in the city or buy some moderately-priced Long Island real estate—for that would go against the “Benedict standard of living” the lawyer alludes to in the opening scene; and this was the reason Mike and I lost the game.
Our spirits were further dampened after reading a walkthrough and numerous online reviews that emphasized how easy the game is. The secret to Wall Street Kid, it would seem, lies not in accumulating a diverse investment portfolio with losses spread out over a number of years, but in finding which stock will make you the most money in a given week and dumping every cent of your capital into it. Sadly, the game doesn’t allow you to engage in heavy drinking sessions with your office buddies or carry on steamy affairs reminiscent of Bob Slocum’s; but you will start to feel sick if you go too long without exercising, and Prisilla will leave you if she thinks that you’re neglecting her by devoting too much time to your work. (Much like the real office world, I imagine.) You can make Prisilla happy by buying her a nice dog or a Fairrari convertible, implying what really keeps the relationship alive.
Still, if Wall Street Kid is any indicator, the business world is a rough place where only the cleverest succeed—leaving the rest of us to drive off in our broken-down old Chryer automobiles and play Dr. Mario instead.