Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fighters in the Streets

EVO is over, so talking some Street Fighter is topical.

I think I played Street Fighter 2 at the Walmart arcade first, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was beside it, so I did not play the first "modern" fighting game much.  Next I played it at a few different cousin's house before I borrowed the cart myself.  I played a ton of it, learning the moves from the instruction booklet, and playing against the computer every day after school.

I remember Vega was the big barrier for people I knew.  If you did not know, the original had 4 bosses at the end that were not playable.  Vega would climb the wall, then jump off and grab you, doing TONS of damage, and then sometimes he would just keep doing that over and over till you're dead.  The people I saw get past him only did so because they were lucky enough that he did not do this move.  Then I figured out Guile could catch him in the air and ensure the win.  We all finally got to see the endings.

The next big thing was allowing the bosses to be playable.  SNES got Street Fighter II Turbo, and Sega Genesis got Street Fighter II Championship Edition, and generally they were the same game.  I opted for Championship because the Sega Genesis 6 button controller was tailor made for Street Fighter.

I had some memorable games of Street Fighter Alpha 3.  At the end of my 9th year of high school, we hooked up the projector in the Tech room and played some Playstation on the wall.  It was the largest screen I had ever played on, and this was well before flat panels came out.  Street Fighter was the natural game everyone fell to playing because everyone got a couple of minutes of gaming, then passed the controller.  That is the strength of fighting games, and the reason they were so popular before the era of death match or 4 player Golden Eye.

I bowed out during Street Fighter 3.  I remember the first version of this game.  It was a mess of a game then.  The animation looked awesome, but they got rid of everyone that had been a fixture to Street Fighter for the past decade.  This would be fixed in later editions, adding Chun Li, Akuma and more, but that was too late for me.  The other big hit?  The new consoles were made for pushing polygons, not working with system intensive 2D.  2D was out of vogue.

Street Fighter IV looked so good, I did not believe it was real.  Seriously, I saw the leaked screenshots and said "this is some high concept, but no way is it fast enough for actual fighting".  I had seen years of 3D fighters, some trying to fight 2D despite being polygons, and I never saw it done well or with precision.  Then Street Fighter IV exploded.  It made me feel like I was 10 years old again, everyone was playing Street Fighter.  It would be a long while before I would get into it myself, but Street Fighter IV is the game that doesn't die.  New characters get added almost yearly, and I don't mind payin 15 bucks for the updates they add.

My biggest problem is that I don't have people sitting next to me playing.  That's what is missing from my Street Fighter IV experience.  Online play is ok, and i know it always had the promise of "always someone to play with", but its just not the same as having 5 or 6 people rotating the controllers as you take turns learning the game.

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