‘Game of Arms’
If you’ve ever wanted to see a man roll up a frying pan with his bare hands, the new AMC series “Game of Arms” is for you.
This reality TV series focuses on five regional arm wrestling clubs from around the country: the Sacramento Arm Benders, New York City Arms Control, Kansas City Rolling Thunder, the Baton Rouge Roughnecks and the Erie Wrecking Crew.
Each hour-long episode features a showdown between two of the clubs. Before they meet at the table, however, we get to know the men who will be heading into battle. We see them with their families, teammates, and in training leading up to competition (including the feat of strength with the frying pan).
These are tough men, and mostly blue-collar. But they’re not all iron and steel workers. They have jobs from across the spectrum of society, including tugboat captain, corrections officer, auto mechanic, grocery store clerk, minister, firefighter, UPS worker, concrete mason, chemistry teacher, logger and fisherman.
Some of them look like they spend a lot of time in the gym, but not all of them. Some look naturally powerful, some due to genetics, some due to their occupation. Four-time national champion Nick Zinna, of the Kansas City team, credits growing up working on his parents’ farm for his preternatural strength. One thing’s certain: however they got there, all these men are very strong.
They have names like Matthew “Chop” Bertrand, Josh “Turbo” Borrow, and my favorite, Andrew “Cobra” Rhodes. Rhodes, at 49 years old, is one of the older arm wrestlers. A 16-time world champion and a gourmet chef, he’s also one of the most accomplished. He tips the scales at 176 pounds, which is light compared to most of the men featured on the show, but he has it where it counts: huge hands, thick wrists and powerful corded forearms.
In Episode 2, “Southern Inhospitality,” Rhodes and his Kansas City Rolling Thunder club head to Louisiana to face the Baton Rouge Roughnecks. Rhodes is competing in the show’s featured match against the 29-year-old “Chop” Bertrand.
Bertrand, a fisherman and oil worker, is a super heavyweight competitor and much larger than Rhodes. But unlike most combat sports, arm wrestling – at least for these club matches – has no weight divisions.
Rhodes isn’t the only one on his team facing a much heavier opponent. His teammate, 22-year-old Ethan Fritsche, is even lighter than he is and will be facing “Turbo” Borrow, who tips the scales at 432 pounds.
There is some money at stake in these competitions, but not much ($250 per individual match, and $1,000 to the team that wins). For a very niche subculture, arm wrestling is a way of life. When Californian arm wrestler Tom Nelson introduces his wife, sister and mother on the show, we learn that all of them have arm wrestled competitively.
These men compete instead for reputation, camaraderie, for the sake of competition and for love of the sport. The show does a terrific job of conveying to the audience their passion for arm wrestling. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.
The series is created by Matt Renner and Ethan Prochnik, the producers of “Deadliest Catch.” See it on AMC Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Arizona time.
“‘Game of Arms’ is a raw, unfiltered look inside the world of professional arm wrestling. It is completely ridiculous — and so very fascinating.”
— Kevin Fallon, the Daily Beast
And available in stores:
‘Zelda: Ocarina of Time’
Being a ‘90s kid, I remember playing on my brother’s Super Nintendo and SEGA Genesis. In 1998 my mom bought me my very own Nintendo 64 for Christmas. I remember it came with a remote control, memory card and a game titled “Zelda: Ocarina of Time.” Back then the graphics were out of this world, since it was the very first 3D Zelda game made, but today it’s not as impressive as it once was. A couple of years ago when I bought my Nintendo 3DS, I got to revisit my childhood since Nintendo made a revamped version of “Zelda: Ocarina of Time” with updated graphics.
The game begins with Link, a Kokiri, being awakened by a fairy named Navi after having a nightmare in which he sees a man dressed in black armor chasing after a girl on a white horse. The first goal once being awakened is to learn Link’s controls such as jumping, rolling and low crawling, as well as “targeting” objects and enemies in order for Link to react to them. During this time, Navi gives hints for Link to visit the Great Deku Tree, that is cursed and close to death.
When Link meets the Great Deku Tree, he tells Link a story of the three golden goddesses and how the kingdom of Hydrule and the Triforce, a holy relic in the Sacred Realm that gives its possessor powers to take over the kingdom, were created. Thereafter, the first mission of the game begins where Link needs to break the evil curse that is in the tree. Once the curse is broken, the Deku Tree tells Link he is the only one who can save the land of Hydrule from the hands of a man named Ganondorf, the Gerudo King of Thieves. Prior to bidding Link farewell and dying, the tree gives him the Spiritual Stone of the Forest, the Emerald of Kokiri.
As Link makes his way out of his village to Hydrule Field, Link’s close friend Saria gives him an Ocarina, which will be used throughout the game in order to unlock certain entrances as well as change the time of day and more. With his wooden shield, sword and Ocarina in hand Link goes to Hydrule Castle to meet Hydrule’s Princess, Zelda. Zelda tells Link her suspicions of Ganondorf and asks Link to collect the three Spiritual Stones so that he can enter the Sacred Realm and beat Ganondorf to the Triforce.
During gameplay, the player controls Link from a third-person perspective where Link mainly fights with a sword and shield, but he also uses weapons such as a boomerang, slingshot, bow and arrow, bombs, and more to destroy his enemies, unlock doors and so forth.
“Ocarina of Time” is an action-adventure game with many puzzles. The player really has to get creative in order to figure out how to get from one room to another in the different temples or levels the game has. To do this, one may need to push or pull large wooden boxes, bomb large boulders out of the way or even use one of their weapons to trigger a door switch. Every temple has mini bosses as well as the main boss toward the end of the temple. When going through a level the main objective is to find a dungeon map, compass, and ensure one goes through every area possible in order to collect hearts, weapons and other items needed for later on in the game.
The game also has many side quests the player can partake in if wanting to take a break from the main mission.
Overall, “Ocarina of Time” is a great game for those who want action but also enjoy the puzzle-solving aspect. Although I played the game as a child, I would only recommend this game to adults and teens, since it does have some scary scenes.