I've never been much of a fighting game fan.
Wait... let's rephrase that. I've never been much of a fan of fighting games based on martial arts. I've always got on well with boxing games... right from Fight Night and Barry McGuigan's Boxing on the Commodore 64, through the Punch-Out!! games and up to the latest-gen Fight Night games, I'm a keen fan of digital pugilism. But unless it's International Karate or Yie Ar Kung-Fu, one-on-one martial arts games have done little for me.
And that includes the Street Fighter series.
Now, I'm aware that this may by seen as sacrilege. Alright, the first one was a bit cack. But from then on, most of them are renowned as fighting classics. And I can appreciate that. They look great, they're well balanced and they play well. I've just never been able to get the hang of learning all the combinations needed for moves. If it's not "fire button + up = flying kick", I'm pretty much knackered.
Still, I went ahead and bought Street Fighter IV, because it looked good and a lot of my mates were getting it. And I played it for a bit, and I learned about three moves, and I got killed a lot. And I hated it. And I put it away for about a month.
And then, the lads on the Way of the Rodent forum started talking about having an online tournament. And I figured, seeing as I had the game, I may as well take part. If nothing else, at least I'd get a bit more play for my thirty quid.
And so I picked a character that I thought I might have a chance with... Crimson Viper. I figured that with her being a new character to the series, most people would not be as familiar with her moves and I might have a small advantage to counteract my uselessness.
I started practicing. And I didn't do very well. But then somebody suggested I change the difficulty level so that I could at least get through the game and unlock some of the other characters. And it was at this point that I actually started to enjoy the game!
I started getting the hang of some of the moves... and in fact got to the point where I could pull off a lot of them almost every time, even with the 360 control pad. I won some matches. I even got to Seth, the "Boss" character... and lost. But next time, I managed a win!
Suitably buoyed, I played with some of the other characters, and managed to win with them, too. And I learned a few moremoves into the bargain. I think I even managed to become quite reasonable with Crimson Viper. I'll never be able to hang with the big boys... Street Fighter has its own language which I don't understand, but I could now play the game with something approaching a degree of efficiency, and gain quite a bit of enjoyment from it.
What's that, you say? The tournament? How did it go?
Oh. Well, I lost my first match, although it was fairly close... and then I watched Newcastle United lose to Spurs whilst waiting for invites. The lads knew I was probably watching the match, and the invites never came. What a wasted afternoon that was.