Flawless Victory

This past Christmas, I got a plug-and-play retro Sega Genesis. It comes with about 80 games built into the unit itself, which you can then attach to your TV, and play, with no cartridges. (Though it also accepts any Sega cartridges you may still have.)

I bought myself the Nintendo equivalent of this last summer, so I suppose it is only fitting; back in the day I had an old school Nintendo and a Sega. I still have my original Sega, in fact. Durable things, they are.

As a young(er) guy, I had a few Sega games. Others I would rent, or borrow here and there from friends. Several of these are among the built-ins. Also among the built-ins: Mortal Kombat 3.

The other night I defeated it. Yes, on easy level, but winning is winning when you are not a video game wizard. Especially when I’d only ever play MK3 on aging machines in the rapidly vanishing attraction known as the video arcade, never on the home console.

If you’re not familiar, Mortal Kombat, and all of its progeny is a one-on-one martial arts fighting game. There are fatalities on screen sometimes, though early example are more comical or satirical than gruesome.

When you defeat your opponent, without them touching you even once during the round, it is known as a “Flawless Victory.” Nothing special happens when you do this, other than a voice saying, “Flawless Victory,” and the words appearing on screen. Though this is the goal for a lot of people, I’ve come to embrace victory in the game with equal satisfaction, flawless or otherwise. For me the game can be so damn hard, I’m happy just to move on, “flaws” in my fight be damned. A win is a win.


Publik Domain Approximation

I am guilty, however, of seeking a so called flawless victory in other aspects of life. A video game is once thing, but when I make a list of things I want to accomplish, and by what date I wish to accomplish them, I tend to be put off when the whole list isn’t completed, or is completed later than I had planned it to be. My 2018 to-do list for example. That was far from flawless. In fact, it may not have been a victory, strictly speaking. I missed a lot of what I planned to do.

To my credit, I have long ago released the notion of flawless victory when it comes to writing. By that I don’t mean I refuse to proof read or revise. In fact, I could in theory revise everything I have written into infinity if I allowed myself to do so. In all my years of wordsmithing, there are maybe three or four products I would leave untouched even upon further examination. Beyond this, even those pieces of my own that I list among my best are not without some flaw. Tiny ones, perhaps, or those only I would notice, but they are there. They are not a flawless victory. I have to trust my taste and my dedication, and at some point “declare” them finished.

Victory, in this case, creating a polished, finished product, is where satisfaction lies.

Victory, in producing an entire rough draft of a novel or play, without stopping to edit as I go along, is where satisfaction lies.

Victory is stumbling my way through the writing life, even when I’m getting pummeled by the enemy on the other side of the arena.

Certainly, I would rather be victorious, even with flaws, at writing than I am at video games, and at risk of sounding self-important, I do believe I win far more often than I lose when I engage in this writing thing.

So leave “flawless victory” to the true gamers; just get in their and win. Even if you have only a sliver left on your power bar, if you knock the other guy out, you win.



  1. CK1

    Loved this!

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