Wednesday, August 1, 2012

G4 celebrates 25 years of Street Fighter

My first memory of Street fighter is at Adventures Arcade in Cross County Shopping center, the place is long gone but I remember playing the original there and then between 1991 & 1992 my friend Krogenar and I driving to the Nathans on Central Ave in Yonkers to put down our quarters to get to play against some of the best local talent!
It's a brisk fall day in as Krog and I drive up the hill towards our destination, I bring up the matches we had a few days prior and what we could do differently if the girl who plays Blanka is there or that japanese dude that spams the Shoryuken. As we park the car and head towards the doors I feel my anxiety rise...or is that my chi? Krog boasts about how he pummeled the guy playing Zangeif and how he was totally feeling his Krojo after knocking the guy playing Guile off his win streak. The chill of the air and the light of the afternoon sun fade as the sounds of HADOKEN's and YOU WIN's fill the stuffy air of the arcade, as we walk thru the door way a wall of Street Fighter II cabinets form wall of neon, electronic euphoria. I reach into my pocket and grab a ten and slide it into the change machine, like a crack addict my hands begin to shake with excitement, I meet up with Krog at one of the machines where there's room to put our quarters down....only five matches ahead of us. We watch as challenger faces off against the current leader of the machine...I study his methods...looking for patterns, patterns that I can exploit. My turn arrives and I throw my quarters in and scroll to my primary fighter...the one I am most familiar with...the first lady of fighting games...

As the announcer says ready...I get into position, run my fingers over the six buttons and get a comfortable grasp on the joystick, my mind is facing on what my first move will be...vertical jump forward, play offensive or jump backwards and turtle? Perhaps a straight vertical jump or risk a spinning bird kick from the getgo to let him know I know how to play the Chunster.....FIGHT! the cheering and noise fade away as the match gets underway, I slip into a sort of tunnel vision as all I'm aware of is my health bar and how my oponent is doing, where's the opening to get a punch in or a kick...do I have enough health to risk the spinning bird again I got him with it twice...should I switch up my style and go on defense...I have the lead...how much time is left...how much of a lead do I have...
The match comes to en end and the dull sounds of the crowd flow back into the room, Krog cheers me on as he drops his quarter in to challenge me, the experience starts again but now the trash talking ensues...
That is what it was like during the early 90's when Street Fighter II rejuvinated the US arcades? I haven't played Street Fighter in the arcades since then but i never stopped playing, and i've been playing Street Fighter IV/SSFIV/AE/2012 since launch, and come a week from this saturday i'll be celebrating playing Street Fighter for 25 years! I don't know but there's a competitive spirit that burns in me every single time I play, it drives me and makes me strive to become better with every match I fight. The best analogy is the competitive nature between Ken and Ryu seen in the story line and the anime's. And in the end it's pure fun!