Monday, October 10, 2022

Meet the Characters: Andy and Kyle

Sega CD Summer is out! This is the sixth entry in my Meet the Characters Series

A kid isn't complete without a couple best buds, and Tommy Guggenbiller has two great ones in Andy Estridge and Kyle Watley.

All three are nerds and live in the Williamsburg/Webster area in Wayne County. In the 1990s, "nerd" culture wasn't quite as widely accepted as it is today. At one point, Tommy calls their shared interests in things like video games and Star Wars a kind of "scarlet letter." 

Andy is probably the "edgiest" of the three, willing to take a few risks here and there. He's the kind of friend to somehow "acquire" a copy of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and hide it from his mother. Or play Mortal Kombat despite his mom's clear distaste in how the game delights in bloody violence.

Andy goes to church almost every Sunday at the behest of his mother, the loving but stern Mrs. Estridge. She's always interested in what he and his friends are doing, although she's never shy about voicing her disapproval and always reprimands Andy and company if she hears a swear word, an admonishment that typically results in Andy saying, "Sorry, Mom," and moving right along until the next time he mutters a forbidden word.

Probably the most skilled gamer of the three, Andy can hold his own in Contra: Hard Corps or Castlevania: Bloodlines and is virtually unbeatable at fighting games. At one point in the book, he has no trouble breezing through the Genesis version of Jurassic Park, a frustrating platformer with respawning enemies and imprecise controls.

For one week every summer, Andy attends an out-of-town church camp. He doesn't care for the music, the activities, or the forced fellowship. He does, however, enjoy the food. The smallest in stature among the three friends, he's a crafty, scrappy kid who doesn't take kindly to anyone who would poke fun at Tommy or Kyle.

Kyle, the glasses-wearing, geekiest member of the trio, is normally quiet and reserved. Don't be fooled, though, because the heart of a fighter beats within him. The second-most talented gamer among the three friends, Kyle's analytical approach to fighting games can frustrate even Andy, who must really work to beat him.

Fiercely loyal to his buddies, he takes particular exception to how Ryan Davis treats them and often criticizes Tommy for looking past some of his former friend's worst tendencies. Not the most creative of the three, he often lets Andy and Kyle influence him. The good news: they never steer him wrong.

He is a savant at Doom, besting much older players in the burgeoning online PC gaming scene. Lightning-fast reflexes and an analytical playstyle allow him to quickly diagnose a foe's approach and formulate the best way to take them down.

Like Andy, he is a math whiz.

Kyle is well read and extremely polite. He shows little aggression in real life, although he can become highly agitated when someone belittles his friends. A hard worker and dedicated Star Wars fan, Kyle's devotion to Andy and Kyle is absolutely unbreakable.