OK nerds. Who's got this. Who's playing. Who's owning who....
Personally, I'm addicted. No console here, I left my 360 in Canada - which I don't mind at all. I miss the days of the stand-up arcades, and thankfully there's no shortage of them here. (Tokyo, Japan for those not paying attention). There's a lot to be said for entering a gaming hall, the smoke hanging heavy in the air. Reaching into the pocket and pulling out a crisp bill, feeding it into the change machine. The tinkle of the coins as they drop down into the tray. You pick them up, and make your way past all the buzzing and bleeping 'lesser' machines you'll never play. You're here for the challenge. You walk up, joining the back of a small gathering of people, and you watch the action in play, You're sizing them up, trying to figure out who's who on screen, observing their techniques as the opponents tear into eachother. This is no blind button mashing, every move is a calculated and concise, looking for the opening to lead into a combo. And there it is! A low sweep chips past the oppents block - a few quick jabs lead into some mediums, followed by some shoryuken juggling... followed by a perfectly timed Ultra combo. The opponent gets up and storms out before the animation even finishes; he knows he's done.
I sit down and take his place. I drop my coin in; the machine chimes in recognition. I casually pound the start button and select my character.
...and promptly get my ass handed to me. I barely get a hit in.
After all, this is Akihabara; quite possibly the 'core' of the gaming culture. The best of the best. It's no surprise then that I've been completely destroyed. I asked for it by coming here. I thought I was ready, after spending hours practicing in smaller arcades out of the city center. I was wrong.
I play again. And again. and again. And eventually, I win a match, presumably against another relative 'amateur' like myself. Inside, I do a happy dance. The joy is not long lived, however. He switches characters and seeks revenge... and finds it in a few cheap moves and string-combos. I leave, defeated.
But I'll be back again for more tomorrow. I need the practice!
So; SF:IV - who else is playing this?
In closing, I leave you with a throwback to the most epic SF:HS3 battle of all time.