Monday, February 15, 2016

More affection than expected

I am afraid. Just a little, mind you, but there is a creeping fear.

In 2009, when I started playing Street Fighter IV, I had been mostly off of fighting games for several years. That ended with Super Street Fighter II HD Remix, a game that was equal parts merciless nostalgia and level headed revisionism. I was excited enough about HD Remix than when IV came out I intentionally did not play Blanka as the HDR version was much different and I did not think I could keep the two separate in my head.

That didn't last very long. IV, more often than not, worked, while HDR hated the players and would crash with little provocation.

In retrospect, Street Fighter IV 'vanilla' was terribly broken. Uppercut x FADC x ultra did silly damage as did just about anything Sagat did, but we played. We played it to death and then we played it some more. I played it to the point of violent frustration one night, attacking my arcade stick with a scissors, flinging it across the room, doing as much damage to the wall as anything else.

That was the first time I retired. It would not be the last.

IV was a gateway drug to other games, none of which I stuck with for very log. There was the grand Marvel vs Capcom 3 experiment. That lasted about one night. I made small forays into anime with Persona 4 Arena which lasted longer but were met with limited success. I even attempted to play Mortal Kombat 9 online. That was a bad idea.

Always, I returned to Street Fighter IV. Until I retired for a second time. This hiatus was even shorter than the last. The Gamestop employee who I bought the game from may have even recognized  me.

Since then I have purchased the game twice more, once on PC and again on PS4. Other, different fighting games have come and gone, most notably Killer Instinct, but I always came back. And in twelve hours, for all intents and purposes, it will be over.

IV will be relegated to ever shrinking side tournaments. The online community will hang on for a while, much like they did for Street Fighter X Tekken, but it will eventually wither to nothing. In about twelve hours it is time to start over.

Start over.

V will change at a much quicker pace then IV did. At day -1 there are tutorials and combo vids all over YouTube. There have even already been tournaments for the upper echelons (and those lucky enough to live in California). It is a different game for a different time being played by mostly different people.

Hype tinged with melancholy. I just hope I don't wreak any sticks this time around.


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