It's an infrequently asked question, but where else am I going to post this?

Why on Earth do you have bunny ears on your head?

Art by Francis Mao This is a difficult question to answer...or at least, it became one. You see, I am not a man with a great memory, so naturally, I married a woman who never forgets a thing. This means I have the ultimate factchecker, but it also means I have someone who will never let me off the hook if I embellish or just plain fudge my way through an anecdote. So in the interest of fairness--and to save my marriage--this story will be told by both myself and [Kat]--even though I maintain, like all husbands, that I am right. [He's not right.]

I've been reviewing video games since late 1993. Game companies regularly send out little trinkets to promote new releases--"tchotchkes" is the preferred Yiddish term for them. They're not bribes so much as attention-getters. Letter openers, t-shirts, keychains, and foam stress squeezers are the common ones; the high-end has included medieval swords, leather jackets, roller skates, and in one case, an electric guitar. [So far, this is all true. And I must say it was a kick-ass guitar.]

In 1994, JVC put out a Sega CD game called Keio Flying Squadron. It starred a Japanese girl who wore a Playboy bunny-style outfit and flew around on a dragon, smiting evil by blasting it to tiny bits. [This was really an odd game, because there was no concievable reason for her to be dressed as a bunny.] The PR team thought that little headband bunny ears would be a good tchotchke, so they sent them out with copies of the game. I got the ears in the mail and commented on them to my JVC contact (Lynn Thompson, I believe--Lynn, if you're reading, drop me a line and confirm). She said she wanted a photo of me in them, and that she was collecting pictures of all the game writers who'd gotten the ears. So I actually did it--and it turned out nobody else did. I was the only dork who actually took her up on the dare. [Okay, this is the main part where Dan has severely warped reality. Yes, they did send the ears out. Dan got them and thought they were a hoot, and started wearing them around the office. He phoned the contact at a later date and told her that he liked the ears. She was happily surprised because other people hadn't thought it was funny. Dan told her that he actually wore them occasionally, and she didn't believe him. She told him that he needed to send in a picture to prove it, so Dan had me take the picture. Now keep in mind that Dan and I were sharing a tiny cubicle in NYC at the time, so we overheard all of each others' phone calls. Plus Dan said to me, "She doesn't believe I wear the ears, so I have to send a picture." I believe that Dan has constructed this little fantasy to maintain some sort of diginity, forgetting that he started wearing the ears cause he wanted to, not because of a fictional dare.]

Shortly thereafter, the online publication Critics' Choice asked me for a photo to post on their AOL site, specifying that it should not be something serious or pretentious. I had that photo on my desk and it fit the bill perfectly. They posted it on the ad for my weekly game chats, and soon everyone who read my writing on Critics' Choice knew about the ears.

Now it gets weirder. In late 1995 I did an interview with Mark Turmell and Sal Divita, the programmers of NBA Hangtime, an arcade basketball game. They had a history of putting secret characters in their games and they invited me to be one. For a geek, being enshrined in a game is the ultimate form of fame, so I said yes. Thrilled, I put down the phone and told Kat. "That's great! You should wear the ears." "No way!" I said. "This is once in a lifetime! This is for immortality! My grandkids are going to see this!" (And they probably will--on an emulator.) [The reason why I suggested wearing the ears was because in NBA Jam, there was a guy in a bowler, and the hat made him stand out in your memory. I figured the ears would really stand out, because otherwise he'd be just another goofy lookin' white guy (love ya, sweetheart). I was really surpised when he said "no way."] Disgusted, I went and spread the good news to another friend, who immediately said, "Cool! You're gonna wear the ears, right?"

Pippen must have been proud "Hmm," I said. (This is also "proof" of Kat's claim that I only like her ideas after I hear them from someone else's mouth.) [At least he admits it happens.]

So I asked Midway and they not only said okay, but please--weird headgear was seen as a cool extra that people would ostensibly play a second time to see. Fifteen snapshots were taken of my head in different positions, and Sal did the rest. If you go to an NBA Hangtime arcade machine (or the PlayStation or Nintendo 64 versions) and enter AMRICH 2020 as the player name and PIN number, my face will show up, with the ears, in the game. [This was really cool. Mark actually didn't know how tall Dan was, so when four of us from work walked into a NY arcade and played the game, with all of using Dan's character, we laughed our asses off--Dan was over 6 feet tall and with bulging muscles. And the really bizarre thing was he was good with 3 point shots.]

Since then I've taken the ears to conventions and trade shows, forced friends to wear them for photos, visited landmarks, created a GamePro persona around them (Bad Hare)...pretty much any excuse I can find is a good excuse to wear the ears. I actually have three sets now--one slightly larger (because guys are like that) and one brown lop-ear model. I also have a big envelope full of photos of the ears in various situations and on various heads--and as soon as I find the damned thing, I'll post a gallery here, to truly seal the deal. [I gave Dan the envelope months ago and told him to put it somewhere safe. Who knows when we'll figure out where that was...]

So there you have it. That's why I own this domain. It's a strange trademark. And, because it really took off with the Hangtime incident, it's actually Kat's fault. [What have I DONE?!?]

Dan & Kat