Potato Quest: Fun Versus Formal
“Yo dawg,” said the orange Wocky that ran Neopia’s only extreme game that involved counting potatoes, “I heard that yo and yo Lupe like potatoes, so I put yo Lupe in a potato so yo Lupe can potato count while yo potato count, dawg!”
The human recipient of this awkward statement was looking at this Wocky with a confused look on his face. He looked over to his sole Neopet, which was in fact a pet Lupe, and back at the Wocky, confusion still with him.
“But... my Lupe’s not in a potato. Or in anything, for that matter,” he replied.
“It’s just a saying, dude,” the Wocky replied.
“But... what does it mean?”
“I means that both you and your Lupe are going to be counting potatoes, man! Extreme ones, at that!”
“Was it really necessary to confuse me like that instead of telling me the direct version?”
“Oh, totally. Without a doubt.”
“And... why is it necessary, exactly?”
“Well, it’s like how the old saying goes: ‘You can’t earn a gift horse without cracking open a few molehills.’”
“Well, you see-”
“No, I changed my mind; I don’t think I want to know!” the human yelled. “Just... stop not making sense and let me count those potatoes already!”
“Hey, you don’t have to tell me that twice, dude! One round of fun, coming up!”
The Wocky went over to one of his many strange contraptions (All you need to know about them is that they were specifically designed for tossing vegetables, with a focus on potatoes. Oh, and that they are quite extreme. Not required knowledge, but it‘s a nice fun fact), and just as he was about to press the on button on one of them, he heard an approaching commotion.
“Out of my way, people! Majesty coming through,” somebody was yelling out.
The human, chuckling to himself, said, “Ah, him. I have a feeling this is going to be fun.”
The Wocky, however, had differing views. “Him? Ah man, what a bummer.”
This “him” had gotten close enough to make it apparent that it was the one and only AAA, gamer extraordinaire. “Come on, you should know amazing when you see it,” he was saying to the line for the extreme potato counting game. “Disassemble this line for now; you can have your turn when you’re done being dazzled by me!”
Trailing behind him was his little blue Aisha sister, Abigail, trying to make peace with the people that AAA just rammed through. “Oh, sorry about that, please excuse my brother, he’s just a little excited.” “Oh, he didn’t mean to hurt you.” “I got the potion to cure that wound right on hand; take it.”
When she finally caught up to her brother, she attempted to whisper a calm reminder to her brother, reminding him that while he was awesome, he still should try to not hurt others, but it was drowned out by the sound of AAA’s voice.
“So, you... orange Wocky guy! I wish to demonstrate to this crowd how amazing I am at this extreme potato game! Worry not; while my score will be unable to be topped, as per usual, I will do everybody else the favor and strike it from the official records, so that somebody else can think they are number one!” Turning to the crowd he just plowed through, he finished his mini-speech with “Oh, and no need to thank me; it is the least I can do for you!”
“Dude,” the Wocky replied. “You’re not going to remember this, but I keep telling you to call me the Extreme Potato Counting Wocky, EPC, Sir Extreme, and/or the Orange Fury of Awesome.”
“Ha!” AAA replied. “You’re not nearly as awesome as I, Aristotle A. Avinroo, happen to be!”
“Well, I don’t agree with that, but you can’t argue that I’m more orange than you, dude.”
Aristotle thought for a second, and whispered a little aside to his sister, asking “Remind me; how pricey are orange paint bru-”
“Just play the game already,” she interrupted. “You can’t keep these people waiting for your score too long, you know.”
“Ah, yes. I shall amaze you all now!”
“Nope! Can’t, dude.”
“What? Why not?”
“Well, this dude over here,” he gestured towards the human and Lupe that were just about to play, “was like so close to starting, so close that not even you can stop them. Like, I had my hand right next to the start button and everything!”
“And? So? He’s not me, and therefore is not important to get priority like that!”
“But, like I said, he was sooooooo close to starting and-.”
“Oh, no, don’t worry,” the human responded, holding back a chuckle. “Let Mr. AAA go through and, ahem, amaze us all. Then I’ll be able to impre... be able to show him how well I can do.”
“Duuuuuuuude! I had this great excuse about a new demand from the queen that all games must take at least one hour long, how the Pant Devil has been kidnapping yellow Neopets that have been waiting in lines for too long for some evil scheme, and how the potatoes will be able to save us from the Pant Devil only if they like you, but... I guess it’s all ruined now!”
“Oh. Er... sorry about that?”
“Never mind, man. I guess I’ll save it for another time.” Turning to AAA, he, with forced enthusiasm, said “Are you ready to count cool vegetables, man?”
“It’s about time! Turn the machine on!”
The EPC Wocky went to the machine and pushed the on button, causing his machines to spit out potatoes.
“1234567,” AAA counted.
“So, how many potat-”
“SEVEN!” AAA yelled. “SEVEN POTATOES! AH HA HA!”
“Oh, snap. That is correct,” the Wocky unenthusiastically replied.
“Ahahahahaha! Again, again!”
EPC obliged, turning it on again for the next round.
“Tubular, man. Just tubular.”
Abigail cringed. She knew how easily excited this Wocky was normally; one time, the “minor” news of the potato crop being somewhat better than usual that year sent this Wocky into such a joy that he held a week-long potato party, a party that is widely considered to be the most awesome party Meridell has ever seen. It included not only more extreme potato flying than can possibly being counted and some of the best potato-based dishes imaginable, but it also had a surfing contest, notable in the fact that the Wocky had to temporarily import a part of the beach from the Mystery Island to Meridell in order to hold it (Some people make the mistake of trying to understand how this is possible. Do yourself a favor and just accept it). Seeing him all happy like he was before just over a few extra potatoes and comparing it to how he was now, she could easily tell that her brother just drained all the excitement out of him.
AAA, on the other hand, was focused solely on his success, not noticing anything but his goal of winning and the potatoes needed to make this goal come true.
“Again!” AAA yelled.
And, so, they went again, and again, and again, and again, until, finally...
“How many potatoes?”
“One hundred and sixteen!”
“You are... WRONG, MAN, WRONG! Haha, finally! So tubular!”
“There were one hundred and seventeen! You missed one! Awesome, am I right?”
“You are absolutely not right, you little... orange pest! ARG!”
“Man, this is awesome! I guess that leaves your score being...” His voice suddenly reverted from super happy back to bleh . ”Oh. 1,348. That’s a... great score. Amazing score, in fact.”
“Hm. I suppose that, since I couldn’t continue this forever, that is a good score. Better than all these fools, I assume?”
“...Yeah, it is. Congratulations.”
“Ahahaha! I, AAA, greatest gamer in the world, have succeeded once more! Now... well, just for comparison...” He pointed to the human that was supposed to go before him. “I wish to see how well you do!”
The human, jaw still dropped, picked it back up and said, “Well... er... actually... maybe later?”
“Just as I thought!” AAA triumphantly exclaimed. “Now, don’t fear, people; as I said, this score shall not remain in the records! No need to worry about beating it. Now, I shall take my leave with my sister! Come, Abigail, and... Abigail?”
Rather than at her brother’s side, she was at the side of the Wocky, apologizing for her brother.
“You know how he gets. He really loves winning,” she said.
“Yeah, but man, he loves winning way too much. Like, waaaaaaaaaaaay too much, dude.”
“Abigail!” AAA yelled. “What are you doing, talking to him? Come!”
“Er, just a second.”
“Not just a second, my dear sister! Meerca Chase awaits me!”
“Please, I’ll be done shortly.”
Walking over to the two, AAA asked, “What? What in the world could be so important as to delay the champion of gaming?”
Knowing that her brother did not understand the concept of “Leaving on a good note”, she attempted to grab an excuse out of thin air. “Well, I, er...”
“Oh, just talking about how awesome you are, dude,” the Wocky said dryly.
“Oh, really now? Well, that is quite nice, Abigail; I’ll give you a few minutes to wrap this conversation up.”
Fun fact: AAA has a dictionary he brings with him wherever he goes. Whenever he comes across a word or concept he’s unfamiliar with, rather than admit he doesn’t know what it means or attempt to learn it, he crosses it out and pretends it doesn’t exist. As a result, if you looked in this dictionary, you would notice the distinct lack of the word “sarcasm” in there.
“Wow, you believed me? Have you ever heard of sarcasm, man?”
AAA stared at him, confused, and responded, “I may have read about the word once...”
“Alright; here’s the lowdown; you are not awesome-”
“You are popular, but not in a good way-”
“And you wouldn’t know the definition of fun if all the games of Neopia knocked on your front door and gave you a nice clear explanation of what fun is.”
“Abigail! Tell me, is such a thing really possible!”
“Yes, it is,” Abigail rebelliously lied. Lying like this, along with not stopping this argument, went against her usual nature, but she was oddly curious to where this would end up.
“WHAT! Well, no matter. Mr. Not Orange And Not Awesome, tell me; why are you convinced that I don’t know what fun is?”
The Wocky cleared his through and, in a mocking voice, said, “116211631164116511661167! Oh one thousand, one hundred and sixty seven potatoes! Hahahaha, you pathetic fools know nothing of my skills! Send me to the next round, Wocky, or else I should crush you!”
“... And? You do a poor imitation of me? So what?”
“Dude! You’re so... well, serious! You play to win. Lots of people play to win, but can have some fun in it. You... it’s like somebody up in the Space Station built you!”
“Typical response from an underachiever! I know how to have fun, thank you very much. But games are not a time for fun! They are a time for winning!”
This boggled EPC’s mind. “What? Dude, that’s... beyond bogus. Games are designed for fun!”
“Ha!” AAA scoffed. “Why do they have high score tables?”
“To compare your scores and give more of a purpose to games, giving you something nice to remember only if you happen to do good, dude?”
“WRONG! It’s to see who is the best, of course! Any game that keep tracks of who wins is meant to be to be taken seriously! And, once I crush other people? That is how I get my fun! By pure victory!”
“Look, man, I don’t know what goes on through your brain,” (“My huge brain,“ AAA added) “But games... well, high scores... you see, dude, it’s like this.”
“Yeeeees?” AAA prodded.
“Games are like a watermelon.”
Abigail figured that this was a good time to stop EPC and to explain something to him, so she went over to him and started tugging on his shirt.
“See, first, you cut the watermelon, and you get all these slices. The more times you cut the watermelon, the more slices you get. And then-” This is the point that EPC noticed somebody was tugging on his awesome shirt. “Oh, hey you, Mrs. Blue Girl.”
Abigail whispered into his ear. “He really can’t enjoy himself if there’s a score being kept, unless he’s on top. If he’s absolutely sure there’s no tabs being kept, then he can relax a little bit.”
EPC whispered back. “Huh. You serious, dude?”
“Yeah, I am.”
Thinking about this for a few seconds, the Wocky came to a brilliant idea. This huge smile that came with this idea creeped out AAA a bit.
“Ab... Abigail. You... you didn’t tell him... that secret, did you?”
“You mean that one incident with the Moehog and-”
“Yes. That one.”
“Er, no. Not that secret.”
“Then what exactly did you tell him?”
The EPC Wocky butted in. “Oh, don’t worry, dude. I’m not going to do anything that will not be deemed unawesome.”
The Wocky walked over to a few piles of giant vegetables, the ones meant to be loaded into the machines. He was looking at them while thinking out loud.
“Potatoes... well, they’re awesome, but I think this is the one time they aren’t the right choice... carrots... no, they’ll just poke some unlucky dude’s eye out... tomatoes... aha, tomatoes!”
Picking one of the tomatoes up, he turned to everybody else, and exclaimed “Prepare yourself, dudes! Here’s the rules; what I’m about to do, you can do, just do it with these tomatoes!” He stared at the tomato in his hand, and then said, “Well, actually, this doesn’t feel like a proper way to start this. Can any of you dudes tell some sort of bad joke?”
A few seconds of silence came across the area, but then a person, the Lupe owner, piped up.
“Alright, I guess I’ll do it. So, my Lupe has no nose.”
A few more seconds of silence passed, until a Gelert asked, “Wait, then how does he smell?”
The tomato the EPC Wocky had was splattered in this person’s face.
“TOMATO FIGHT!” the Wocky yelled. “EVERYBODY FOR THEMSELVES!”
Picking up on this, Neopets and people alike went over to this giant pile of tomatoes, grabbed whatever they could, and threw them at another. Those that were reluctant to join at first eventually did after getting splattered once or twice.
AAA was so in this action. He rammed over to the tomato pile and picked as many as he possibly could and was counting how many hits he was getting.
“I hit you with one, I hit you with one, you get twice, I hit you-” *splat*
Frustrated at how he got nailed so soon, he looked around, angrily, saying, “Hey! Who hit me!”
Absolutely nobody answered.
“Seriously, who... hit me with that tomato?”
Everybody was too focused on the fight to respond.
“Nobody’s... keeping tabs?” *Splat*
Unless you count the tomato that just hit him, he once again ended up with no answer.
“Well... well then. I suppose that it doesn’t really matter, then I guess it’s pointless to... wait, I know! I’ll get that Wocky back first!”
“Hey, dude?” the aforementioned Wocky, who was right behind AAA said.
“A good monolock...” (“Monologue,“ AAA corrected) “can be kind of cool and nice, but not when it’s something you want to keep hidden from somebody else, you know?”
“Well, I suppose so, except for one little thing, my dear Wocky.”
“And what is that, my undear yellow Blumaroo?”
“You’ve let your guard down.”
*Splat splat splat*
“Oh man! Good one! Except for one thing?”
“Ah, I didn’t see those two tomatoes in your paws, Wocky. Clever, I suppose”
“OK, how did you hide that one, Wocky?”
“Ha! Dude, try to get me back!”
“Oh, I will!”
AAA grabbed some more tomatoes, and was hit (*splat*) by another tomato. Seeing that this time it was thrown by a blasted Lupe, he targeted the Lupe instead.
“Hahaha! Oh, and I think you over there deserve a tomato, and you over there, and...”
And, with his usual mentality slightly loosened, AAA started to take things less seriously. He, Abigail, the Wocky, and everybody else spent a fun while just tossing the tomatoes, until the pile was completely empty. The place was an utter, splattered mess, but most of those there, both Neopets and people, agreed that it was totally worth it.
“So, dude,” EPC was saying to AAA afterwards. “Did you, well, enjoy it.”
“Why do you want to know, you Wocky?”
“For your information, it was... fun.”
“Yes. There’s an odd appeal to that sort of thing.”
“So you DO know what fun is like!”
“Of course I do,” AAA snapped. “Why would you think otherwise?”
“Well, you just take games so seriously...”
“Like I said, games are meant to be played seriously! Otherwise you can’t discover how to be optimal!”
“But, dude! Games are meant for fun!”
“That is your opinion, and it is wrong!”
“Meerca Chase!” Abigail interrupted.
“What do you me... Meerca Chase!” AAA yelled. “I forgot that I had that planned next! Abigail, we must hurry!”
Grabbing her, he turned to the EPC Wocky and said, “Well, Mr. Wocky, while I can’t say that you’re not an obnoxious furball... I can say that you’ve gotten a little less obnoxious today.”
“And you, triple A dude, while you’re still a jerk that takes everything seriously, and not in a good way, I sort of kind of slightly understand where you’re coming from. Sort of.”
“Well then. With that out of the way, to Meerca Chase!”
The two hurried off into the distance. The EPC Wocky was not entirely sure how to take this, but his confusion was quickly forgotten as he realized that there was this giant tomato mess he had to clean before the extreme potato counting game could run again.
“Bummer,“ he thought to himself. The battle was fun and all, but this Neopet was not one of the rare few that enjoyed cleaning. Thankfully, a few Neopets and people that were in the epic tomato battle were willing to help clean things up, and, before long, the place was as good as new.
“Thanks for the helps, dudes!” he was saying to the various helpers.
A chorus of “You’re welcome,” and “Man, that fight was great,” followed. One voice, coming from a human, said something a little different.
“Oh, before I forget, I found this note next to one of the machines, and it seems to have been made out to you; it has ‘To the Extreme Potato Counting Wocky’.” He handed over the note. “Anyways, I’m off to take a shower. Thanks for this awesome fight!”
“Oh, you’re welcome, dude! Glad that you thought it was tubular!“ Then, looking at the note, he said to himself, “To me, man?” He opened it up and read its contents.
“Dear Mr. Wocky, thanks for this little diversion. My brother... just loves his gaming skills a little too much, so he doesn’t get many offers for some silly fun like this. I know he enjoyed it; it’s not often he can play a game without feeling like he has to be the best. You probably still don’t like him too much, but, as a favor to me, if you can do something like this some time you see him in the future, that would be great. From, Abigail.”
“Huh,” he thought to himself. “I don’t get it. Games are meant for fun, though I... guess I can kind of see why people take them seriously. Still, man... well, maybe she has a point with me doing something like this for him. Maybe he’ll start to loosen up and stuff.”
He rushed over again to his pile of vegetables, ready to load up his machines for a nearly formed line at his game, but also thinking about what future thing he could do purely for fun.
“Let’s see... carrots do have potential... oh! It can be like that dart game! Yeah, and if I can get some of those ‘Ultimate Bull’s-eye’ targets, and toss them around a bit, but make sure we’re in another mess so that nobody’s keeping score, or maybe if we take this celery and do boat racing... hmm, this game making stuff is hard work. Ah, well, whatever I do, that AAA guy better get ready; I’m totally going to rock him with a good time!”