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Anyone who knows me…well, knows me on a gaming level (When I was growing up, gaming was a thing you did in private. A dirty little secret that you didn’t want the girls to know you did. I still carry that attitude and don’t really declare I’m a gamer…unless someone asks) will know that my gaming preferences would fall quite centrally between RPG’s and Fighting Games. I always prided myself on bring quite good at both genre’s. No one wanted to play me in fighters, solely because I would beat them all the time, which wasn’t fun for either me or them, and RPG’s are single player.

In regards to Fighting Games (let’s call the FG’s for ease of writing) I wasn’t always as good at them. I remember this one moment that caused me to become better. When I went to my cousin’s house, he had Street Fighter 2, so he, my older brother and I decided to play. This was probably my first time playing Street Fighter, so I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Cue my uncle.

He came in and decided he was going to join in. So, my turn comes around, and I’m playing against my uncle. He chose Guile and I think I chose Ryu, but it could have been Ken. Anyway, he DESTROYED me. If you’ve ever played Street Fighter 2, you’ll know that the game has this very obnoxious voice that says “PERFECT!” when you get thrashed. My uncle, to just rub salt in the wound, added the prefix, ‘Practice makes…’ then the game said, “PERFECT!”.

This abuse continued time and time again until I cried. Tears base jumped down my face, and this caused everyone to laugh at me. That was when I decided to train. I spent days learning how to do a hadoken, then a shoryuken, and finally a hurricane kick (doing a backwards hadoken was near impossible as a kid).

My brother was also very good at Street Fighter, so I used him to train me. He beat me so many times that I had blisters on my fingers from playing  (literally) until one day I beat him. From then on, it was as if I had graduated from Street Fighter camp. I could beat anyone who played against me.

I moved on to other FG’s and the skill followed me. I could play a couple rounds of a game, understand the controls, and start winning. I felt like a king. Anytime I went to a friends house and they had a FG, a smug look would envelope my face, and I’d ask if they want to play.

Recently I moved to FPS titles, purely because there were no other games that I could sink my teeth into or play with friends. As I said, no one wanted to play me in fighters. This is probably the reason I was so hyped about Destiny when it was first released, as it touted itself as a multiplayer shooter RPG hybrid…which it was, it just wasn’t that good.

Anyway, I digress. 2008 saw the release of Street Fighter IV. Everyone seemed to be interested in the game, and it bragged about online play. I wasn’t really into online gaming at the time, but decided that this was it. This was my chance to get back into fighters and that this would be the time when I show the world the genius Street Fighter that I was.

My first match started, and the player had a higher number of player points,  as well as a few battle points. I lost horribly. I got devoured by the competition A large amount of players were just far superior than me in skill, timing and understanding of the game. Some of the fights were lost because of, what I like to call ‘cheap playing’. People spamming a certain move or combo repetitively until they win. I’m more of a flamboyant fighter that likes to have a good match, with clean battles and challenge. I want to enjoy myself whilst I play, so I choose all the characters at least once and try to use each move at least once.

Anyway, this was the most humbling experience of my life. I was the king of a small pond. No one in my pond could defeat me. Now it felt like I was a barracuda, which just met a great white shark. The world of fighters opened its doors,  and showed me what a true player could do.

This seems to be the case with most gamers I meet. They believe they’re the greatest at Fifa, Driveclub, Call of Duty…then a real pro cones along and shows them how it’s done.

Now, with Street Fighter V coming out today, (I’m still sitting here waiting for my delivery) I intend to redeem myself. I spent the weekend getting beaten by some really good players on Super Street Fighter IV, but that loosened up the muscles slightly. Slowly I started winning matches again and my confidence returned.

It’s now time to get out of my small pond and wade in the ocean of players. I’m going to make my mark on the world of Street Fighter, one battle at a time.

It’s time to RISE UP!

-Nate-

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