If, by any chance, you've already heard of Roy "Mr. Awesome" Shildt, it was most likely through the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a film I myself didn't get around to watching until just recently despite the cloud of positive acclaim and hype surrounding it. Shildt is portrayed in something of a negative light in the film, shown as sort of a bad influence on protagonist Steve Weibe and introduced as a comic foil--amongst a cast full of potential comic foils.
But "Mr. Awesome" is nothing short of an American Hero, an inspirational figure worthy of a documentary film all to himself. Join me, won't you, in an exploration of the life and times of MISTER AWESOME--champion of the people, avenging angel, and proof that the only limits to your own personal potential are the proportions in which you dare to dream!
Roy Shildt first rose to a modicum of minor local celebrity-hood in the mid-80's by setting the world record for high score on the arcade classic Missile Command--a game, he points out, which is far superior to "candy-ass" games like Pac Man or Donkey Kong, fraught with allusions to virility and manliness (the phallic appearance of the "missiles" should be a major clue) and technically challenging due to the 'track ball' prevalent in gameplay. Shildt's mastery of Missile Command indeed became a parallel to his mastery of life itself in coming years, and as his accolades grew, so too did his biceps, quads, pecs, and lats...
Yes, Mr. Awesome's addiction to the gym was almost as powerful as his addiction to Missile Command, and a more stout and powerful video-game nerd you were highly unlikely to find in Awesome's local Los Angeles haunts in the late 80's. Adopting a new uniform, persona, and Camaro replete with lightning-bolt decals and personalized license plate, Mr. Awesome took to the streets to spread his message of empowerment, strength, self-respect, and boning hot chicks.
Awesome's path was a righteous one.
Prepare to be inspired:
My own introduction to the Mr. Awesome legacy was not, in fact, via King of Kong: rather it came from Adam Parfrey's excellent 2000 compendium Apocalypse Culture II, the book which hipped me to so many other arcane subjects--such as (among other things) unconvicted Japanese cannibal Issei Sagawa, the heinously surreal films of Crispin Glover, and the horrifying birth and psychological implications of RealDoll. If memory serves, Mr. Awesome's section was the final chapter in the book, a fitting end to the biggest mindfuck since The Illuminatus! Trilogy.
From Apocalypse Culture II:
Roy Shildt believes that his awesome potetential is based on three major factors:
1. Roy Shildt is listed in the 1986 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records as having had the highest score for the video game, “Missile Command”. Almost 100 “computer athletes” are listed in the Guinness Book, but Mr. Shildt was inducted as the first member of “Video Hall of Fame” (location unknown). The individual who achieved the highest score for Donkey Kong cannot make the same claim.
2. Roy Shildt took out a one-third-page ad in the May 1989 issue of Playgirl magazine, which includes a picture of his disturbingly naked musclebound body standing next to a six-foot-aluminium ladder. Listed in this ad are Mr. Awesome’s sperm count statistics, his availability for “bachelorette parties, character roles in motion pictures, Swedish massage, tour guiding an dpersonal fitness training”, and his actual phone number.
3. After mailing a letter and issue of Playgirl magazine to the media personality Madonna, the woman – according to Mr. Shildt – actually called him up. Material mailed to this writer by Mr. Shildt included a lengthy, obsessive fixation in the form of the Playboy column “20 Questions” speculating on Madonna’s desperate need for Mr. Awesome’s sperm.
DON'T GET CHUMPATIZED
Knowing that his American Success Story could serve to inspire millions, Mr. Awesome quickly rose to an unprecedented level of international prominence and respect, destroying his enemies, boning all the hot chicks, assisting the downtrodden, and then boning more hot chicks.
More from Parfrey's interview with Shildt in ACII:
Mr. Shildt tells me that the prime vehicle for establishing his coming celebrity will be a comic called, “The Comic Book Life of Roy Shildt”, which would include a “mini-story” called “The Mr. Awesome Training Manual” that informs “comic book nerds over the age of 18 how to ‘get all the babes you ever dreamed of.’”
“We can sell millions,” rants Mr. Shildt/Awesome to this author by phone. “Millions. All you have to do is help me write it, and print the thing. If you fuck me over like the scumbags of Hollywood and everyone else, you’ll get yours. If you do me well, I won’t forget you. Mr. Awesome is the avenging angel of all the fucked-over people who tried to make it in Hollywood. My name is going to be worth a lot of money.”
The chapter about Mr. Awesome in ACII also contains a couple unnecessarily graphic photos of a nude Awesome engaged in faux copulation with a siliconed-out porn star on the hood of his Camaro. I know you guys are dying to see them, and I would have scanned them and included them here, but Peter has had my copy of that book for like 2 years now. WHAT'S UP WITH THAT, BRO?
MAY YOUR AIM BE TRUE