As seen in: Spelunker (Atari 400/800)
Also in: 3D Dot Game Heroes (PlayStation 3)
Distinguishing feature: A reputation that precedes him.
Strengths: A name that requires numerous spell-checks.
Weaknesses: Crippling osteoporosis.

Profile by Bob Mackey | January 30, 2010

The human ankle: So easily popped, snapped, strained and sprained that it calls any notion of “intelligent design” into question. If we were created by some sort of divine being, evidence points to He or She being the equivalent of some drunken moron -- fueled by cheap beer and the local classic rock station’s “Time Warp Weekend” -- slamming random parts together in a cluttered garage on a Saturday afternoon. And that rush job done on the eyeball? Don’t get me started.

Is it any surprise, then, that the medium of video games gives us a character who embodies one of the greatest flaws of the human body? Out of all the challenges on his journey -- bats, their poop, ghosts, and icky-smelling puddles -- little Spelunker has to worry most about his frail little ankles, which tend to snap like matchsticks upon the most minor of falls. To be fair, his early-'80s platforming buddy Mario? suffered from the same debilitating problem, but the fact that Nintendo’s plumber quickly outgrew his calcium deficiency after Donkey Kong only makes Spelunker’s frailty seem more egregious.

In fact, Spelunker’s journey is so decidedly un-fun that it seems to have some ulterior motive. Was Spelunker’s malnourished body sent into dangerous, boring caves just to teach children of the '80s the importance of ingesting dairy products? If so, then maybe Spelunker’s sacrifice was necessary, if only to impart two vital life lessons: Drink your milk, and don’t play Spelunker.

Rumor has it that Spelunker creator Tim Martin planned the titular little hero’s second adventure around the importance of not climbing inside of abandoned refrigerators, until he discovered that the inside of abandoned refrigerators are actually kind of neat. He has been missing since 1985.

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