Button Mashers Beget Button Mashers

(Editor’s Note:  Apologies again for our silence this week.  I’ve been dealing with end of semester stuff.  Hopefully I can maintain the schedule of posting twice over the next two weeks.  If not, I’ll definitely be back when finals are over.)

My family took me to a local arcade (yes, they still exist!) for my birthday this year.  It might be more accurate if I say the local arcade since I believe it is the only one close enough to be called local.  We do have a Chuck E. Cheese, but the arcade there is secondary.  You mostly go there for the mediocre (really, terrible) pizza.  Wait, why does anyone go there?  A question for another time, perhaps.

The trip took me back to the years of my youth misspent in arcades from Erie, Pennsylvania to Silver Springs, Maryland.  I got 2 hours to play Tetris, Dig, Dug, Rampage, NBA Jam, The Simpsons, Centipede, any many others.  Sadly, no Q*Bert or Pac-Man and the Mrs. Pac-Man machine was out of order.  Also no Mario Brothers and the only Neo Geo games were Bubble Bobble and Bust a Move.  Aside from the more modern games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, those were the old school games that I played in the arcade and at home.  Still, I had so much fun and it is one of the best birthday presents ever.

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Button mashers in training

During one of my breaks to watch TMNT (They showed it on the big screen, but with no sound.  That’s my only complaint, even if understandable.) and eat free fries (part of a Groupon deal), I noticed Liam and Aiden playing together on a machine and having a ton of fun.  I went over to see what brought them such joy.  It was one of those Street Fighter clones, but one that I’d never played nor even seen.  This is noteworthy because I thought that I’d played them all.  At the least, I was sure that I’d played the ones that featured Ryu as a character.   I noticed he was on the roster during one of their character selections.

Now, it is bugging me again that I never knew the game existed and I forgot to write down the name of the game.  I need to figure this out.  Bear with me.  Enjoy the musical stylings of Nick Winters while you wait.

Okay, I’m back!  Google is a wonderful thing.  Whether you need to find the name of a never before seen 2D fighter or directions to the Rhode Island Convention Center for an underwhelming trip to wach the SCG Open event, Google has you covered.  Sure, they’ll catalog your search results, sell your personal information and data, and then use that money to lobby Washington DC for less strict anti-trust laws.  That’s all a small price to pay for all that convenience.

Once they finished playing and it was time to go, I asked the natural question, hoping for a particular response.  They looked like they had fun, but I wanted to be sure.  “Did you like it?”  I asked.  They both said, “Yes, it was fun!”

Woo hoo!

It started with board games, branched out into Heroclix, Pokemon, and Magic, and now extended into 2D fighting games.  My kids share many of my gaming interests and I’m thrilled by the prospects.  In fact, they enjoyed the game so much that they didn’t want to leave.  While I’m not entirely sure how they kept track, we only had technically two hours to play and our time was over.  No tears were shed, but they definitely expressed their disappointment.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the game they were playing:

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Tatsunoko vs. Capcom

I remembered that Chris gave me a copy of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  This led me to download the second game on XBox Live.  I mentioned to the boys that I owned a similar game to soften the blow.  Naturally, my intent was to play the game with them.  However, as happens (and happened too often this winter), the game got lost in the shuffle and forgotten for several months.

I don’t remember exactly how or why the game came up in conversation again.  I think that it was just luck.  We were sitting in the living room, Aiden had finished playing some ‘Splosion Man, and was getting ready to turn off the XBox.  I grabbed the other controller to load up Marvel vs. Capcom 2.  He got so excited when he heard the music and saw all the characters that were available.  Neither he nor I understood the intricacies of the game, so we were on mostly level ground in that regard.  I did have the advantage of knowing some of the special moves.  That advantage disappeared quickly, though.

I’m not sure that he knew the exact moves.  Then again, I’m not sure that he didn’t, either.  He pulled them off with such frequency and skill that he might have stumbled onto something by mistake.  Either way, he beat me legitimately more than once.  I’m not proud of it, but it did happen.  As someone who pretends to be a reporter on the internets, it is my duty to report news when it happens.

Breaking!  8-year old beats his father!  Click here for the rest of the story.

Hey, maybe I’m not just pretending to be a reporter.  I seem to have learned the basics of web journalism already.  I can generate click bait.  What do you mean journalistic integrity?  See, I’m a natural!

We moved on to Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  Excited by the fact that, even though it takes them a while, Capcom can count to three, I assumed that meant that they also improved their games with each successive sequel.  Sure, I knew that they often didn’t necessarily improve when they released the in between expansions for each game, but they had to make the sequels better, right?  I excitedly told Aiden that they made the graphics better and added new characters.  Sadly, only one of those was true.  There were actually less characters and they didn’t even necessarily pick the good ones to include in the game.

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Marvel vs. Capcom 2
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Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Of course, the game featured all of the familiar faces from both Capcom and Marvel.  Ryu, Sagat, Ken, Spidey, and Hulk all made the cut.  So did some secondary characters like Dormammu, Moon Knight, the Darkstalkers girls, and the guy from Ghosts and Goblins.  Deadpool and X-23 were added with a few others, but Zangief is gone.  Probably the most egregious omission is the mummy guy from Darkstalkers.  I accidentally discovered this move that turns the oppponent into this tiny zombie looking robot thing.  Aiden and I laughed hysterically any time that I managed to land the attack.  That’s what games are all about.  Finding a move in a fighting game that makes both you and your 8-year old son giggle in the same way and spam it to no end.

Another strike against the third game is that Christine found the case.  She asked, “Is this appropriate for them to play?”  I asked what she meant and that I played it with Aiden and saw no problems.  She replied, “It’s rated T.”  I rolled my eyes.  “Probably for cartoon violence or something.”  To be honest, I never checked the ratings and felt a bit embarrassed by that.  When I checked, I was flabbergasted.  Partial nudity and sexual themes?  WTF?  I’m not sure that I played that game.  I did a little research and I guess that it is due to the Darkstalkers ladies and Deadpool says a few potentially offensive things.  I think that they were a bit heavy handed with the rating, but I can see their point.  Some parents and children might be more sensitive to these issues.

All things considered, the second game seems like the obvious choice.  No Deadpool and there are the ridiculously sexist costumes for some characters mentioned above, but they are overshadowed by the sheer number of other characters and easily avoided.  I would give the game a try yourself first to see if that is something that you don’t find too offensive.  If you find that it is okay for you and your kids, then get your kids to fight with each other and not worry about the destruction of property as a result.

…in a fighting game. Continue reading

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