First time I ever played a fighter game was Street Fighter II in a Little Caesars. I must have been three or four at the time, I don’t remember. Parents would order pizza, and I’d stare at the machine while waiting for our order. One day, Dad asks if I want to play. I play it and I absolutely hated it. I didn’t know what I was doing, I used Ryu and got destroyed by AI’s Chun Li. I never wanted to play it again after that. Any time Dad asked me after that, I said no.
Few years later, I was playing Super Street Fighter II with my cousins. They taught me how to do moves and whatnot. I remember my cousin making a comparison to Mega Man X, saying that once you learn their attack patterns, your opponent doesn’t stand a chance. Pretty smart stuff in retrospect and it really helped my forge strategies. Eventually, I started to get pretty good at it and I started to appreciate these games more as I grew up. I remember getting SSF2 for Genesis for my birthday, came with a six button pad. Best birthday ever. I must have played that from 2nd grade to about 7th or 8th.
Around my high school years, I had some friends that I used to play with. We’d get really competitive, and it was great. I got a Dreamcast around this time, keep in fact that this was when a Dreamcast would cost $99 and stores would do anything to get rid of those games as soon as possible. It was perfect since Dreamcast was such a Mecca for stellar fighting games. So many great titles. I remember there was a “Buy 1, get 2 free” deal at Fry’s. I picked up MvC2, Third Strike and Soul Calibur in one day. Life was good.
I remember joining a small Tekken Tag tournament during the summer between College and High School. Despite being a scrub at Tekken, spamming Bryan’s 66+RP got me seventh place and won a Pokeball keychain with a Snorlax inside. I still keep it in my room to this day. I never competed in tournaments since I lived in an area that has a pretty dead scene when it came to fighting games. I’ve always been hungry to compete over the years, despite my barely-average skills, but I’ve had so many obligations holding me back. I’ve always wanted to go Evo at least once in my life and I’m hoping I can go next year.
And here I am now. I’m still playing fighter games at a semi-tournament level. I’m currently one year away from getting my Masters, and I’m planning on proposing to my girlfriend shortly after I can snag a stable job after graduation. Considering traditional cultural values and possible stereotypes, I’ll probably be a father soon after that. In short, I’m feeling that this could be the last time that I could attend Evo as a competitor, let alone tournaments in general. There’s no way I could prepare for something like this while juggling a job and a family. So I’m hoping to end things with a bang next year.
Wow, this became a lengthy story. My bad, everyone, haha.