I think I’m finally ready. Well, as ready as I’ll ever be. Today I’m going to take on Curly, Virtual Pool 4’s numero uno, for the very first time. Defeat in the first-to-five-frames contest will cost me a cool ten grand – a sum that doesn’t come easy in VP4’s frighteningly moreish ‘hustler’ career mode.
276 games ago I was a skint nobody who could only get games in the Garage, the lowliest and shabbiest of the town’s six venues. Today, I’m a bona fide ‘shark’ who, by beating formidable players like ‘Slow Roll’ and ‘GQ’ , has earned the right to enter the seaside pad of Curly, the local legend who dispenses FMV advice at various points in career mode.
Having shared tables with ‘champion’-rated players before, I know roughly what to expect from the sim’s most adept opponent. His potting is going to be absolutely top-notch, his positional play inch-perfect, and his shot selection breathtaking at times. Any mistakes I make are going to be ruthlessly punished. Unless I use my head and bring my ‘A’ game, my ten grand is as good as lost.
The fact that Curly is prepared to gift me two frames at the start of the match (a consequence of our rating disparity), and VP4’s best AI players occasionally miscue or commit fouls while attempting tricky pots, gives me a faint glimmer of hope. If the pool gods smile on me today, and I take full advantage of any chances that present themselves, it’s just possible I might win the nearest thing to a boss fight I’ve fought in many a year.
Wish me luck, Cornerites! I’ll tell you how things went tomorrow morning.