Noob’s History with Fighting Games

Introduction

I meant to write this article last Friday to cap off my celebration of the new fighting games coming this year. Then I wanted to post it Saturday and again yesterday. Saturday, I took a nap and then went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 with Liam and Quinn for father’s day. Look for the review on Thursday. Yesterday, Christine took me into Boston to see the Alanis Morrisette musical “Jagged Little Pill.” Harder to maneuver that one into our aesthetic, so I’ll just say it was very good and I highly recommend it. And, so, on Monday, you get Noob’s history with fighting games.

Unlike my other histories (maybe I’ve only written one, Mario?), I won’t be traveling through the actual chronology of these games. I’m 47 years old and things that happened 20 years ago feel like they happened 3 years ago. Plus, Covid happened 3 years ago and that feels like a lifetime ago. So, my internal clock broke some time ago. As a result, this will read more like a list of games that I played and some stories about them.

BloodStorm

They hyped the shit out of this game. Loking back, I remember now that they even got the guy who played Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat as one of the spokepeople for the game. They promised ultraviolence and a way to improve your fighter by collecting powers and storing them via password. Then, the game never came to my arcade. I lived life thinking I imagined it along the lines of the Mandela effect. Then, i found a ROM of the game and played it a few times on MAME. Jesus, what a piece of shit.

Super Smash Bros.

I live with the shame of being terrible at Super Smash Bros. Moreover, I have no idea how to even play the game. I don’t know what the percentage means, can perform no moves on cue, and spend most of the time just hoping that people falling off the cliffs will kill them and give me the win.

King of Fighters

Unlike many of the games on the list, I have no idea when I started playing King of Fighters. I know it most likely happened like all of the others on the list and I met the game while waiting for the lines at Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter to calm down. Something about this game caught my eye. And, yes, I was a teenage boy, so it’s the thing you’d figure it would be. I was a Mai main.

Tekken

I never fell for the console wars. Likewise, I refused to pick a side during the Virtua Fighter/Tekken split between fans. With that being said, I preferred Virtua Fighter, espeically after Virtua Fighter 2. But, I enjoyed getting my ass handed to me in Tekken. I just returned the favor if they ever became foolish enough to challenge my Shun in Virtua Fighter 2.

Darkstalkers

I actually went through a phase where I preferred Darkstalkers to Street Fighter. Essentially a reskin of the game with horror figures, I liked the graphical style better in Darkstalkers. That all changed when I discovered Street Fighter Alpha and they brought this style to Street Fighter. Because, realistically, Street Fighter has the most polished fighting engine out there and everything else pales in comparison.

Virtua Fighter

I discovered Virtua Fighter when both the Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter machines got buried underneath long lines of quarters. And, so I started playing Virtua Fighter. Similar to my experience with Street Fighter, I found the strategy of the game appealing. Also, no fireballs or dragon punches. The legitimacy of the fighting, no matter how actually illegitimate it might have been, brought me great joy. I peaked in the series with Virtua Fighter 2 and my drunken master Shun. I was unbeatable with that crazy old bastard.

Primal Rage

This game became my main after I bored of Mortal Kombat 2. Plus, the mall in Monroeville where I rode the bus after school got one of the massive screens and cabinets for the game. That made the dinosaurs seem that much larger than life. When the update hit (yeah, if you’re annoyed by waiting a few hours for a game to update online, imagine waiting weeks until they released a chip that needed to be installed in the game) and we got combos and finishing moves, I asbolutely lost it and deposited quarter after quarter until I got them all. Blizzard’s brain punch is still the best.

Killer Instinct

The game promised combos. And, wow, did they ever deliver. This game ushered in the era of mega combos and dimishing returns on the damage of those combos. Plus, the unique design of many of the characters kept me coming back for more. I started as a Glacius main, but switched to Spinal once I got better at the game.

The Verdict

This obviously represents only a portion of Noob’s history with fighting games. As I searched for videos from Primal Rage, it reminded me of another game that I played, Eternal Champions. Kevin was crazier than me and purchased all of the systems, the 3D0 included. Maybe I will do another version of this when Mortal Kombat releases. Look out for Noob’s History with FIghting Games Part 2.

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