I can still remember the fervor that accompanied the SNES release of Super Alfred Chicken. I remember the seemingly endless lines, the makeshift tent cities, and of course the elaborate Alfred Chicken costumes that captured our hearts while we all waited for this cultural touchstone.
It seems like a different world now, one so far removed from the violence and rhetoric that plague the cruel year of 2016. It was a simpler, happier time, and much of that was squarely on the tiny shoulders* of our hero, Alfred Chicken. Waiting in that gigantic line with other Chickenheads (as fans of Alfred Chicken are globally known) and breathlessly speculating on the game’s release and what it meant for the beloved franchise…these are some of my favourite childhood memories. Thank you, Alfred Chicken.
Alfred Chicken. Mother Teresa. Mahatma Ghandi. Jesus. Different names for the same being. A point of shining purity and light, staving away society’s shadows, if only briefly. Golden clarity to all those who might be lucky enough to steal a glimpse of history made flesh.
It’s only now, in retrospect, that the looming fall was obvious. At the time, no one could believe anything negative about Super Alfred Chicken. How could we? Here was a bird that had united everyone though his love of awkward jumping and being instantly killed by robotic mice. But unfortunately, we eventually found his true love: eating human ankle skin.
At first it was just rumors. Some journalist would hop out of an interview clutching their foot and swearing under their breath. A child would burst into tears and pull up their socks. Super Alfred Chicken would see a sign for Footlocker and mention that he hadn’t eaten in a while. But everything came to light.
The footage of the shootout between Super Alfred Chicken and the Virginia State Police was all over the news for days. School was cancelled on the first day. Flags were half-mast out of respect for the Great Bird…but as the details began to come out, national mourning became national outrage. It wasn’t until Super Alfred Chicken’s basement was dug up that the true horror began.
It’s strange to be confronted with this grisly spectre of the past. How do you write about such a game without mentioning its lurid history? You don’t. You drink for a while and try not to see yourself in the mirror. We all try to forget and let the skin on our ankles heal.
* I’m not sure if chickens have shoulders and I refuse to educate myself on this matter. Please leave this as a fun mystery for me to take to the grave.