My Fight Club Part 1: Fighters and I

In the early 90’s there were two types of kids, the ones who played Mortal Kombat and the ones who played Street Fighter. I found myself drawn more towards the Mortal Kombat series. I could lie to you and say it was because of the characters or the story of invaders from a different dimension but instead I’ll come clean. It was because of the fact that when I hit my opponent, I saw a much more immediate reaction. I am of course referring to Mortal Kombat’s leniency with blood. I’m not proud of being that shallow but it really was the first time that something like this had been seen. While Street Fighter had the more animated style (which I would come to love), Mortal Kombat was the closest thing to a fight club that I had.

That confession aside, it’s safe to say that Mortal Kombat was not my only
fighting game experience in the past. Riding the success of Mortal Komabt and Street Fighter, many similar games were released. Having grown up in the 80’s and 90’s, I was overjoyed when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters came out. Another game that I believed myself quite good at was Clay Fighter 2. Octo, a bizarre ball with tentacles and an insane smile, might easily be compared to Jin from the Blazblue series. Cartwheeling around the level, the move Octo Spin was pretty much the “Ice Car” of that day.

 My most influential exposure to the Street Fighter series was the release of X-men vs. Street Fighter. Fast paced, flashy, and a fully flushed out roster of characters new and old to me made the game an instant sell. I would be surprised if anyone would dispute the fact that the 90’s X-men cartoon opened the Marvel superheroes to a whole a new audience. While the Capcom lineup was present, I found myself flocking toward the Marvel side because of this exposure. That doesn’t mean that I neglected the Street Fighters. Now when the “Hadouken” or the name “Chun Li” came up in conversation, I knew what people were talking about. Looking back at the lineup, this game was probably my first experience with Cammy who would later become my favorite Street Fighter. Suffice to say when Marvel vs. Capcom appeared, the flood gates were opened. More characters and a system that let me change my team on the fly? Now as I said in the beginning, I’ve always enjoyed playing fighting games but looking back I truly believe that it was the release of this game that made me a true fan.

Fast forward to the year 2009; while fighters waned in popularity with the exception of a few gems (Guilty Gear XX deserves noting here), Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and the like just weren’t what they were before. Now, through the darkness, there came a light. In the hopes of getting the franchise back in people’s hands, Capcom released Street Fighter IV. I watched the game being played and I swear it was like a comic book in motion. Even if you’re not a fan of the franchise, I hope you can at least appreciate the style of the game, it’s truly beautiful. There I was, I finally owned a stand-alone Street Fighter title.

Confession number two, I have very little competitive spirit. The games I played when I was younger were mostly against the computer’s AI. Bragging and general jerk-like behavior made playing against my friends unbearable. Upon playing with my brother, tantrums and physical contact were mostly the end result (on both sides, I’m not too proud to admit I started some of them). Curiosity finally got the better of me. I wanted to see how I could do against other people, other fans. I knew I was going to get obliterated but I was not prepared for the beatings. There was no going back! I popped in the game and entered the world of fighting online. To be continued…