Anyone who’s known me or read my blog for any length of time may have noticed that I love Street Fighter. I’ve loved this game since the original Street Fighter II on SNES. Nothing else will give me a head rush like executing a perfect combo in this game, and nothing else will make me scream and throw a tantrum like a four-year-old, either. In fact, tonight I went through my third – fourth? – controller.
Yes, those things are almost $40 apiece. No, I can’t afford to keep breaking them. But I do.
This one lasted longer than a lot of the others. I go through epochs in this game: a month or two where I play it online virtually non-stop, every chance I get. I do this, inevitably, until I reach B rank with my main character, Ryu. Then I get beaten to a bloody pulp by every single opponent I face, until I finally give up for several months, at which point the cycle repeats. In particularly disastrous epoch endings, I don’t just give up; I hurl my controller against the wall – or, as was the case tonight, smash it against my head – and it breaks.
Now here’s something weird about this. I’m normally a very stable person. No, seriously. I don’t hit my kids or anything. Tonight my son was really, really pushing boundaries and the worst he got was some time in the corner and no dessert. I’m not crazy. At least, not unless I’m playing Street Fighter.
But when you get so perfectly owned in this game, when absolutely every last combo you try to execute fails or gets intercepted, when the enemy is precisely one instant ahead of you and is reading you like a book no matter what you f***ing do…. I can’t even express in words how frustrating it is. It just rips past my tolerance level like a rocket. I see red. I go fucking apeshit.
I still don’t hurt anyone, but man – I get really, really angry.
“Wow, Adam. You need to quit playing this game. What are you, 34? Grow up, dude. Take up golf.”
Yeah, I know. And you would think with how often Street Fighter (or “dokens” as my adorable three-year-old daughter used to call it) drives me absolutely bananas that I would quit it. But its limitless capacity to incite me to rage is only half the story. The other half, of course, is when you win. Because when the shit is going off, when the combos are connecting and it’s the other guy that’s pinned to the wall, when you tap-tap-bam-bam into an ex-Tatsu into a Metsu hadoken finish… Jesus it’s a rush.
It’s just pure brutality. Losing is brutal, winning is brutal. A lot of it has to do with the sound effects, which are crunchy and bass-ey and smash-ey. They just activate this primal part of my brain that wants to kill things in a way that nothing else does.
In my life I rarely – okay, never – get to beat the crap out of things. I am always holding my temper. Street Fighter is about letting go and breaking some faces. It’s fantastic. And hey, it has a built-in limit to how much I can play it, because once I break my controller, I have to wait for the next one to be delivered.
Speaking of which, it’s time to order the new one.