Gentlemen, I just discovered why it’s always felt so impossible to assemble a fighting game community in my area. One of my old buddies from high school now manages the local EB; I was chatting with him yesterday, and he told me something interesting:
Our region has the lowest number of preorders for SF4 in the entire country.
Apparently by a large margin too. Preorder numbers were so low, their head office apparently double-checked that the stores had remembered to set up their promotional displays, and when the answer came back the obvious yes, they told the stores to just take that stuff down. All of the store’s current decor is for other games. Right now the plan is that they’re only going to bother bringing in a couple of extra copies for the game… one or two for each system total. (Other recent fun facts about our local store in specific include how they’ve had more copies of Soul Calibur IV traded back to them than they even sold, and how they sold almost no copies of MK vs. DC.)
I generally keep a pretty good sense of humour about me, so I feel less crushed and more like the biggest joke in the world was played on me and I’ve just been let in on it. Why don’t I live somewhere else? Why don’t I like something else? The odds are mindbogglingly hilarious that I would love fighting games and be here of all places in the wealthy, peaceful world. I couldn’t seriously complain about this–if your country is impoverished or at war, you are worse off than I could ever be–but it is definitely something worth laughing at yourself about.
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A few extrapolative thoughts on the matter, reached through deductive logic based on a series of reasonable, educated assumptions:
(Those points may not be completely accurate but I’m pretty sure they tend to be vaguely correct, or close-to at the very least, so they remain as a good basis for discussion. Pretty smartypants, yes?)
Not everyone who buys a game will preorder it, but a lot of the hardcores will. I would imagine that preorders for each game in an area probably represent a fairly consistent fraction of how many people in the area really like that particular game.
As far as I know, EB usually gets more preorders for video games than any other physical establishments. As such, comparing their numbers from region to region is likely a good relative gauge of the popularity of something.
Even though Smash and Tekken have been the big sellers for the past number of years, SF4 is probably the most anticipated fighting game in a very long time. I would venture to guess that its success (or lack thereof) in a given area makes a reasonable approximate indicator of how popular fighting games are in general for that area.
EB Games Canada is run more or less as a separate company from the States’ EB/Gamestops so I don’t know if we still hold this unfortunate record when you include the US in this as well, but I’m preeeetty sure we’re somewhere near the bottom anyway.
In summary, I’m fairly certain that my area is one of the spots where fighting games are the least popular in all of upper North America. Too cruel, hahah.
As soon as this school term is over, I’m packing my bags and leaving. Goodbye Nowheretown Nothingsville, you will not be missed!! :lol:
The nearest, decent competition I’ve managed to find is a six hour drive away from here, which is pretty tough to fit into a life schedule with any regularity; I make it down once or twice a year, tops. I play online like it’s a drug just to preserve my sanity, but of course I’m aaaalways fiending for a better fix. I miss arcades and I absolutely crave the purity of real-life, in-person, face-to-face competition. Unless you’re a sponsored professional, you really can’t go basing your life decisions around some video game just because you like it a lot, but maaaan this is definitely enough to affect where I want to be!
This thread is for everyone else who deals with the problem that “big city” players could never understand: isolation. I know there are a ton of you out there just like me. Please, tell us your story. Tell us how you’re plotting your escape.