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Salty Bet: Why I Haven’t Slept In Two Days
Vegeta walks onto the battlefield. The arena is engulfed in flames, and my computer screen is a flickering strobe light in my pitch black bedroom. The sun has long gone down, but I don’t care. My eyes are riveted to the match playing out in front of me, as the Prince of all Sayians prepares to blast his opponent into oblivion.
The contender, I should probably mention, is Pikachu.
But it’s okay. The little yellow Pokemon lost miserably to Batman a few rounds back, so I had a pretty good idea going into the fight of what to expect.
“ALWAYS BET ON DBZ” shouts the chatroom. “VEGETA IS MY MAN.” Excellent. I drop a hefty chunk of bucks on his sneering sprite, looping in an idle animation. You’re a badass, Vegeta. You’ve got this.
It’s now the end of the third round, and his health bar is one solid zap away from empty. Before he can ever hope to charge up an attack, Pikachu mercilessly slaughters Vegeta, taking the last of my cash and sending me to a salt mine prison.
“NEVER BET ON DBZ” shouts someone in the chatroom. Thanks, guys.
The name is Salty Bet, and the game is an addictive, ruthless, oftentimes hilarious fighter. At its core, the service is a Twitch stream of computer-controlled M.U.G.E.N. fights using a mind-bendingly vast list of custom fighters from an endless amount of sources. Anime stars trade blows with Nickelodeon entities. Transformers are broken apart by comic book superheroes. Warner Bros. Animaniacs and Mortal Kombat characters are no strangers. And more often than not, the most unassuming, ridiculous, Microsoft Paint-rendered little creature will decimate every opponent in sight. Except when they don’t.
And there’s the fun. Especially in your initial experience, the matchups are entirely guesswork, wondering exactly what level of artificial intelligence and what array of skill sets each character can offer. Or, what strategies they’re most damaged by. Members of the site place virtual bets with fictional currency, but the pressure of dropping a ton of cash onto a character and watching the brawl crumble against your favor is just as nerve-wracking as any kind of real-money gambling.
The live chat is an entirely different beast altogether. Besides spewing hilarious cries of success or woe at a breakneck speed, there’s a real push to send bets in the favor of the lesser fighter in a match. This skews the odds, massively increasing the gain of the winning character. Again, all for a very nonexistent currency. (Always bet on DBZ, though.)
There is a Premium Account element, which can be bought on a cheap monthly or yearly basis. It opens up a pretty attractive list of features, including protecting your biddable Salty Bucks from ever falling below $666, and allowing access to a list of statistics from all past tournaments. It’s called the Salty Illuminati. The heavy dose of humor that permeates through the site provides a really warm and fun sense of community, and keeps you coming back for more.
Speaking of, it looks like I’m calling in sick to work tomorrow. Black Widow is going toe to toe with Butthead, and at this moment, it’s anyone’s game.
Dive into Salty Bet at their website. Registration is free, but you’ll be paying enough with a complete lack of sleep for the rest of the night.