Let me begin by sending mad shouts out to jcasetnl
It is jcasetnl's recounting of the lore tales of yesteryear that has brought me out of retirement and to my keyboard this afternoon.
For the first time in over a decade he has called upon me to share my experiences with what I consider to be the greatest arcade game of all time. Dare I say the greatest videogame of all time...? Street Fighter II.
"Dude...what should I say?! Whats left to add?!" I asked...
"Damn TONY.... speak the lore already... these fools need to know about the next level!" he replied impatiently
I sat down to read the posts to see where my SF brothers stand. Just reading through the thread brought about an influx of old skool memories
Memories of a time before 800 page FAQs and step by step combo guides.
Memories of a time before 'onscreen help or 'context sensitive' game menus.
Memories of a time when games didn't have to have an end, or play fair with you...
Memories of arguing with parents about spending too much time in the ware palace.
Memories of adding fools to the database for future reference.
Memories of spending my college years at SFSU in the campus arcade
Memories of Metallica on stage with long hair ripping through Harvester of Sorrow >sigh<
Memories of jacasetnls over the top victory celebrations
Memories of playing the fabled Thomas and kicking his ass. (If only for a few games)
Memories of defiling the great temple known as Dennys
Memories of taking fools bus fare and lunch money as they tried just one more time
Memories of sending legions of fools back to Remedial to work on their basics
Today I share a brief moment in time which jcasetnl will never let me forget
I do mean. never
Jcase and Phil (the deadest homie of them all) are credited with introducing me to the game of SF2. Phil brought the knowledge, but stepped back as his disciples took his knowledge, disposed of it, and elevated to a new plateau. (Not to deride Phil any fool who can finish Ultima 4 has his name scribed in the Great Book of Wareplay Eternal his 8bit skillz were indeed legendary on both NES and C64 alike)
For a brief period of time after the release of SF2, I was able to hold my own against any and all challengers. I didnt lose often and when I did lose I was able to evolve and return with higher standard. My skills, reflexes, and timing were polished to a point that I have since been unable to duplicate
I was also quite the arrogant bastard especially where SF2 was concerned. (..and rightfully sohehe) Trash talking was a huge component of my game. To this day I am amazed that I didnt end up in a garbage can somewhere in the back alleyways of Oaklands Chinatown
Woe to the fool who walked up to a machine with a gamepro in hand or a move list scrawled on a napkin. He would be the recipient of verbal abuse that would make the likes of a Navy Seal ring the bell of shame
I often turned this attitude toward the homies as well as Jcase and I would often exchange pleasantries after our matcheshehe
After a while, Jcase stepped away from challenging me and concentrated on his own game. He would often step in to trade rounds with me while I reloaded on bagel dogs and Sunkist, or made a food run to the local Wendys. In my mind, this was the white flag that I had been waiting for. I had established myself as the dominant World Warrior.
Of course, I had no clue that he was studying my habits, patterns, techniques, tendencies I also had no clue that my style was so readily obvious. Apparently JCase had noticed my fatal flaws flaws that other opponents recognized but could do nothing about. (I had fairly quick reaction times, and the speed of the original SF2s game play gave me plenty of time to adapt to their attacks.) This coupled with the time he had been spending cross training at the OakTree was a dangerous combination
One afternoon he cruised into GameTown, stepped up to the SF2 machine that I had been occupying for what seemed like weeks without a valid challenge, plunked in his quarter, and hit the player 2 start button.
I believe that day I had decided to work on what we called advanced theory with Ken. (I often took breaks from playing Guile, as it was just too easy) I believe Jcase to be putting his newfound Guile devotions to the test.
Round 1 started as I faked a fireball and dug into his airborne ass with a dragon punch. (Oh how many rounds began this way, my old friends?!hehe) While not taking the round with a perfect, I was victorious and began one of my usual verbal celebrations.
Round 2 saw me relaxing myself a bit. In the olden days, we gave second rounds to our deserving opponents as a way of showing respect. The problem was, while I thought I was giving him second round, he actually took it from me. Toward the end of the round he began to read my every move and supply the appropriate counter for the situation. How many backfists in the mouth would it take for me to adjust my flow?? How many standing forwards or air throws would it take for me to adapt??
Round 3 began and for the first time in recent memory I was concerned that my opponent may actually get the best of me. I became tentative I was second guessing myself. I was hesitant and cautious perhaps too cautious.
Jcase sensed this and began the blitzkrieg. I found myself flipping around the screen in hopes of escaping the onslaught, in hopes of delaying the inevitable
I, like countless Ken/Ryu players before me, was being dissected by the consummate Guile player. As time wore on in the round, I began to stage a brief comeback, upper cutting any limb he would even think about sending my way doing my best to keep proper distance. Faking him into coming in and getting a fistful It was truly a see-saw matchup.
He seemed to have an answer for everything... he would take the hits, then bring the pain. The closing seconds of the round saw me in the corner, attempting to hold on for a few more seconds perhaps in hopes of being saved by Father Time.
It had become clear to me what I needed to do: I had a tactic of walking up to crouching opponents and throwing them. Remember that? Straight up walk up to a fool and toss em before their brain even processed Jcase had this move scouted, as I had used it on him religiously. (With MUCH success)
I made the madmans final attempt and moved in to deliver the final throw. As I rose and made my way toward my crouching nemesis, thoughts of my victory speech began streaming through my mind. "We choose to go the moon in this decade...."
Not two steps into my attempt to throw my unsuspecting opponent, I was greeted by a roundhouse flash kick, right smack on the forehead
eeeeeeewwwwwuuuuuhhhhhh was all I heard as Ken struck the ground lifeless and Guile began combing his ridiculous flat-top. It was the flash kick heard round the world
I was stunned, but muttered good shit nonetheless.
Of course, JCase being the great sport that he is proceeded to humiliate me with the greatest after match clown in recorded history.
Elated at the sight of his victory, he ran out of the arcade, directly into the middle of college avenue with his arms raised overhead in a V and screamed MOOOOOORTAL KOOOOOOMBAT!!!! at the top of his lungs.
All the while, staring toward the sky, spinning around in the middle of the street. MOOOOOORTAL KOOOOOOMBAT!!!!
(For those who dont remember, the ad campaign for the 16bit renditions of Mortal Kombat featured scores of kids running through desolate streets yelling Mortal Kombat in unison)
Cars and passers by had absolutely no idea how the balance of power had shifted that day, or the significance of his actions. In fact, most were peeved to see a young punk in the middle of the street yelling at the top of his lungs.
He returned to the arcade to find me in a ball on the floor of the arcade tears of laughter streaming down my face
I had been handed the fattest slice of humble pie in my game playing career.
Big props to Jcasetnl, Jay, Frank, the crews from GameTown, OakTree, Regency, Escapade, 2 Star liquor, SShack Redemption, Big Al, all my victims, and all those here in the forums today who took the time to read about a personal piece SF history.
Much love to the dead homies, to the Commodore Amiga, to the old skool warez scene, and to anyone who picked up a controller when it was called a joystick and had one big ass red button.