After the meet and greet, the legends had about an hour of free time before they had to head over to the stadium for their panel discussion with season ticket holders. Given that their day was packed full of events, the players easily could have opted for an hour of peace and quiet by going back to their rooms. They had a busy night ahead of them, so maybe a little bit of a break would make sense. That’s why it was scheduled that way.
It turns out that this group couldn’t get enough of hanging out with each other. They wanted to spend that hour together, so Frankie Hejduk suggested they walk over to 16-Bit, a nearby “barcade” that features beer and old-school 1980s arcade games.
As we approached the bar, I couldn’t help but notice a few Crew SC fans decked out in their jerseys, hanging out and having a few beers before the match. It had to be a surreal sight for them to see a gaggle of Black & Gold legends approaching. One minute, you’re having a beer and talking with your friends. The next minute, Brian McBride is coaching you while watching you play Track & Field.
McBride was super fired up to see that they had Gauntlet, which was his favorite game as a kid, but I never saw him play it. He did get in a game of Joust, though.
I suppose it’s only fitting that Mike Clark played a game called Defender.
When not destroying his wife 21-0 in NBA Jam, Dunny played some Off Road. I’m guessing his “Mario Kart” experiences in taxi cabs offered some valuable insights into this game.
Alejandro Moreno played some Frogger.
I’m assuming they didn’t have Frogger in Venezuela when he was growing up. Once he maneuvered his frog onto the logs, he jumped into the water and died. I had to explain that the frog dies if it touches the water. I mean, that’s just science. Water means instant death to a frog. (“It must have been a tree frog,” Duncan Oughton would later suggest when told of the watery demise of Ale’s amphibian.)
And then came the most ridiculous game of all. Frankie Hejduk found a game about beer called Tapper.
“I didn’t find one,” Hejduk said of the bartender-themed game “This was my favorite game, even as a youth. The object of the game is to refill everyone’s beer and to make everyone happy. You have to be a good bartender and be on your game.”
Basically, if Hejduk could invent a video game, this would have been it.
“Yeah, this is my ideal game, but someone beat me to the punch. What a genius. He beat me to the punch a long time ago, so I would have loved to meet this guy.”
Hejduk, the high-score holder on Tapper at 16-Bit, has a favorite part to the game.
“Watch,” he said. “At the end, if you do the right thing, you get to, like, slam a beer.”
Hejduk then successfully completed the level. The little video game bartender poured himself a celebratory beer and chugged it.
“What a game,” Hejduk said before taking a swig along with his video game bartender. “Best game in town.”
All in all, the legends enjoyed their impromptu video game excursion.
“That was a cool place,” Oughton said. “We just got to relax and banter and try out all these old-school games. There was a lot of good conversation. We had a free hour, so everyone goes together to do that. It was just a great little moment. That was a cool thing that everyone had a favorite game at that place, just from their own childhood.”
Oughton himself recalled playing Frogger and Donkey Kong on the Atari back in the day. It must have been exciting when the Atari finally made it to New Zealand in the mid-1990s.
“The mid-90s?” he scoffed. “No, it was just there the last time I went back!”
BONUS: Watch Frankie play and explain Tapper!