I wanna take you for a ride (I think)! Let's discuss Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite!


February 7, 2012

DP Into Ultra (Part 1)



The answers to all of life’s problems are contained within Street Fighter.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.
               
What once started as a mere (and mediocre) arcade game in the late eighties has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon, and a standard in the gaming universe -- a role model to follow, and the solid foundation upon which an entire genre is built.  Basically, if you rolled all of the major deities of every religion into one, you’d get the holy equivalent of what Street Fighter does for the gaming world.
               
The premise is simple enough: fighters from all over the world gather for a huge tournament, in which battles can take place anywhere -- ironically, little of the fighting is done in the streets.  Apparently, there’s some sort of overarching storyline to the series, but it’s pretty much a moot point; all ANYONE needs to know is that people are getting together to beat each other up.
               
And who are these people?  A pair of martial artists trained in a toned-down version of an art of assassination who shoot fireballs from their hands and spin around like helicopters; a huge Russian wrestler who, once he gets his hands on you, sends you spiraling into the air before dropping you on your head; a Chinese Interpol agent with thighs as thick as tree trunks, whose kicks move at roughly the speed of sound; an American colonel with a flat-top hairdo, twin U.S.A. flags tattooed on his shoulders, and throws red, white, and blue boomerangs of energized wind.  So basically, it’s what would happen if the world’s countries were turned into real people, and subsequently given drugs.  Lots and lots of drugs.
               
But damn it if that isn’t the most successful formula in gaming history.  Street Fighter 1, released in 1987, wasn’t very good at all (nearly impossible to control, and even harder to beat), but it was a start; Street Fighter II, on the other hand, changed everything.  Two players fighting competitively in the arcades, with combos, vivid and unique characters, and fast-paced yet strategic action…many a pair of pants were soiled at the sheer amount of excitement the game had to offer.  To this day, Street Fighter has an absurdly huge following; tournaments have been held for years, with thousands of dollars up for grabs; names have been made by the dexterity of one’s fingers -- Daigo Umehara, otherwise known as “The Beast”, is both a veteran and a veritable demon at the game; countless fans have been made, and remade.  And Capcom, the company responsible for starting the craze, has raked in profits as well as catered to the fans: it released roughly a DOZEN different upgraded versions of SFII, and released a few new branches to the universe: the Alpha series, a much-adored prequel, and the EX series, an early (and largely unsuccessful) foray into the 3D world.
               
Then came SFIII.  Not one, not two, but three different versions were released, with the third being, arguably, one of the most adored fighting games in history.  Faster, with 2D effects that are unrivaled even today, fine-tuned and aggressive game play…it’s the game of choice for high-level and tournament players, and undoubtedly will go down in history as one of the series’ highest points.
               
And then came 2009 with Street Fighter IV in our hands.
               
And so it began again.





“Hey, did you hear the news?” I asked, turning away from the computer.  “They officially announced the home console characters.”
               
Richard, my brother, and my senior by two years, walked into the room after a long day at school.  As usual, he seems gruff and ready to crack a joke at my expense, but I’m always ready to brush it off -- and crack a joke in retaliation.
               
“Home console characters?” he repeated, stroking the dogs jumping at his legs.  Suddenly, his eyes lit up.  “Dudley?”
               
I shook my head, and did my best to restrain a smile.  “Not quite.  Dan, Sakura, Cammy, Fei Long, Rose, and Gen.” I pointed to the screen, showing off some of the game’s official art.  Dudley, a classy boxer from earlier in the series is not among them.
               
Good thing, too.  I hate Dudley.
               
Rich groaned and pulled up a chair.  “They all suck.  They should have let me pick the characters.”  He played with the bill of his cap.  “Capcom doesn’t know what they’re doing.”
               
“I doubt that,” I countered.
               
Rich shook his head.  “Eh, I think I’m gonna get an arcade stick when it comes out.  The 360 pad is terrible for fighting games.”
               
“Arcade stick?” I repeated with a tilt of my head.  “Are you sure?”
               
“Yeah.  I’m gonna be playing this game for a long time; I want maximum precision.”  He flipped the TV on, and despite his divided attention he kept the conversation going.  “Besides, I’ve heard that the game’s really hard to get used to, even for the pros.”
               
I scratched my head in disbelief.  “That’s not what Capcom’s been saying in all the interviews.  Supposedly, it’s supposed to be easy for people who’ve never played Street Fighter before to get into.”
               
“Well that’s not what the pros have been saying on the forums,” Rich argued.  “So, either it’s really easy, or it’s really hard, huh?  Somebody’s bullshitting.”
               
I nodded.  Our operation was a two-man process back then: in anticipation of Street Fighter IV -- the latest release, following a decade-long hiatus -- we had tried to absorb as much information as possible.  I checked press releases, interviews, official posts, blog posts, and countless gaming sites for valuable data; he watched videos of the game -- already released in Japan in arcade cabinets -- on YouTube, no doubt to cement his game play prowess, and scoured the forums of the most accredited Street Fighter junkies he could find.
               
The gaming world had caught on fire, and we were victims of third-degree burns.  This would be our first proper game in the series to own (seriously, at least); in anticipation, I -- grudgingly -- bought a used copy of SFIII for “training”; together, we watched tournament videos, and marveled at the glory of two brave fighters having it out.  We, and undoubtedly countless others, would make predictions and toss out theories, as well as declare which characters we would use.
“I think I’m gonna main Guile,” I declared.  And so went our verbal contract: to declare your main was to take his hand in marriage; once one brother laid claim, the other could never, ever touch him.
               
“Tch.  Fine, Guile’s stupid anyway.  I’m goin’ with Ken all the way!” Rich proclaimed with a cocky grin.
               
“Ah, choosing the inferior version of Ryu, I take it?” I taunted.
               
“Shut the hell up!  Ken’s cool!”
               
Unfortunately for Rich, he was about to find out just how uncool Ken really was.


***

How do you tell a normal person from a nerd?
               
Dress?  Sure.  Hair?  Probably.  Build?  Depends.  The way he talks?  Definitely.
               
Nerds are incredible.  Give them a subject, and they will devote unhealthy amounts of time and energy into pursuing it.  They (or should I say, we) make their own worlds, their own communities, their own lingo, all for the sake of their precious hobby.
               
The SF community is no different.  A number of the special moves in the game have needlessly complex Japanese names -- Shoryuken (Rising Dragon Fist), Hyakuretsukyaku (Hundred Rending Kicks), and a perennial favorite, the Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (Hurricane Kick).  Thanks to the nerds, a player no longer has to tie his tongue in a knot every time he tries to say the name of a move; the Shoryuken, for example, has been shortened to dragon punch, or DP; the rending kicks, to Legs.  And it goes beyond that: each individual button press in the game ties to a different type of attack: punches and kicks ranging from light to medium to heavy, and modified by whether or not the character is standing, jumping, or crouching.  Trying to string all of those together in order to post a sweet combo usually involves saying something along the lines of, “j.hp, c.lp, c.lp, c.mk, qcf+hp” -- and that’s actually one of the simpler combos in the game.
               
Rich’s concern with SFIV was whether or not it would be hard to control -- if it would give him broken wrists if he so much as jumped.  Since its release, I can only assume that he’s happy with the end result…for the most part. 
               
The main problem with the game -- from Rich’s perspective -- is that it caters to both the hardcore and the casual players at the same time.  There are things that you can get away with that shouldn’t happen, but do; shortcuts were added to the game to make inputs easier, but unfortunately for Rich, they’re easily exploited, and put a damper on his efforts.  And, even if he’s doing phenomenally well in a match, all it takes to break him down is an “Ultra Combo” (Ultra for short): a high-power special move that builds up as the character takes damage, resulting in some last-minute (and heart-rending) upsets in a match.
               
And then there are the Ken players.  So numerous are they, so wild in style, so unrefined, yet so deadly, that annoyed fans often cry in agony at any chance they get.  For these “Shoryukids”, the DP is their greatest weapon: interrupting all attacks with high damage and combo-smashing potential…but, only if they land it.  If blocked, then without fail they will taste the sting of justice.
               
Justice.  That’s what Rich calls it, anyway.
               
“I’m dancin’ on your head!  Look at me, I’m tap dancin’!” said Rich with a laugh as his character, Seth, plants his heels into the top of a Ken’s scalp.
               
I nod silently, my eyes fixed on the screen.  A few months have passed, and my brother has a definite handle on the game play, able to unleash some savage combos if the opportunity arises.  Of course, he has one particularly glaring weakness.
               
“God, this Ken is so STUPID!  Why are all Ken players so stupid?” Rich asked rhetorically as, after blocking a DP, he throws the Ken to the other side of the screen.  “You shouldn’t do that, it’s un-SAFE!”
               
I nod again.  I can pretty much already see what’s going to happen in this match.
               
Rich began his final advance, ready to bait the Ken into another sloppy attack, block, and counter while he’s open -- his bread and butter strategy.
               
And as his lanky character moves into position, I begin counting in my head.  Five.  Four.  Three.  Two.  One.
               
“Take THIS!” shouted Ken, as the camera zooms in dynamically on the blond brawler.  He leaned back for a heavy blow, and struck with a savage uppercut -- the first hit of his Ultra.
               
Normally, it’s easy to stop, and easier to punish.  Its range is limited, and judging by the other player’s style thus far, he’s a bit too inexperienced to use it effectively.
               
But not this time.  No, he hit his mark perfectly, freezing Seth in place -- and leaving Rich gaping in awe as his avatar is beaten down in a series of kicks.
               
“SHINRYUKEN!” roared Ken triumphantly as he launched the final attack of his Ultra: a mighty uppercut that sends both himself, and his captured foe, into the sky in a spiral of flames. 
               
And poor Seth, charred to a crisp, has lost the match.


               
“You got cocky,” I said with a short laugh.  “As usual.”
               
Rich, furious, began swearing wildly, and slapped his hands atop his arcade stick.  For a few seconds, he looked like he might start crying.
               
I sighed.  Rich’s arcade stick: a huge black monstrosity sprawled across his lap.  One large lever, eight buttons -- supposedly, the epitome of fighting game control, purchased thanks to a windfall of birthday money.  It’s the symbol of his devotion to this craft; to romanticize it, the symbol of his burning passion, and a love of battle.
               
But I could be wrong.  Maybe he just wants to stomp on people’s heads.
               
“God damn it…I HATE ULTRAS!” he raged, slapping his hands on the stick so hard his palms turned red.  “Hate Ultras, hate Kens, hate this game!”
               
I shrugged.  “Well, what can you do?  You already bought it.  Or should I say, I bought it for you.”
               
Rich shot me a look.  “Grab your pad.  Let’s play.”
               
I frowned.  This is going to suck…
               
***

Funny thing about video games: they can turn you into a jerkass.
               
When you spend a lot of time with a game, you tend to notice its…nuances.  Sure, when you first lay your hands on the disk, you feel a rush of happiness -- you can’t wait to get it in the tray.  And for the first few hours, it’s like a dream come true.  Street Fighter’s no different.  The first fights are just a mere learning process, a chance to fall in love with the game at first sight and never look back.
               
Then the angelic glow dies down, and you realize: the game isn’t the second coming you dreamed about.  It has flaws, problems, exploitable mechanics, unusual glitches, and gameplay imbalances.
               
And the price of entry is staggering.  In order to get truly good at the game -- in order to step out of the kiddy pool and into the big boys’ territory -- you’d better be willing to put in a lot of time and effort.  That combo I mentioned earlier, if one could call it that, is nothing special; there are others out there that rely on nearly every mechanic of the game simultaneously -- linking moves into one another based on split-second timing (literally; it’s kind of the same principle as the frames of a movie), managing your super meter so you can cancel your special move, then dash out of the cancelled state, start another move, link into a launching move, then time your Ultra so that it connects…the phrase “easy to learn, hard to master” is in full effect here.
               
I can understand why some people just stick to the Shoryukid strategy.  The rabbit hole is large, and deep; some dare not venture in (or have jobs, I don’t know).  Alternatively, those who do venture in are unable to get out; they become absorbed with every minor detail, chief among them the dreaded “Tier List”. 
               
Have a favorite character?  That’s great!  Now let’s see where he is on the tier list…what’s this?  He’s at the top?  Oh, no wonder you won, you’re using such an overpowered character!  He needs to have some of his options taken away!
               
Oh, you like that guy, too?  Oh man, he’s at the bottom of the list!  Man, you’re NEVER gonna win with him!  You might as well give up at the character select screen!
               
Tier lists bring little more than fuel for a fire.  Some pick characters just because they’re at the top.  Others (quite possibly, like my brother) choose those at the bottom, so they can complain rigorously about said character’s flaws when they lose, and berate you endlessly when they win.  Some rabbit holes just weren’t meant to be entered.
               
That didn’t stop Rich, of course.  He didn’t just jump in, he dove in headfirst; the moment the information was available, he scoured every page he could find, watched every video he could load, and sank countless hours into mastering those split-second links with as many characters as he could (hell, he’s playing it as I speak!).  As a result of his devotion -- or perhaps, obsession -- he possesses phenomenal skills, and a cool head in nearly any situation.  Provided he doesn’t get too cocky.  And provided he doesn’t get too overzealous.
               
Whatever the case, he’s transcended the Shoryukid, and the average player as well.  He’s become an elitist, and uses his knowledge of the game to his advantage in fighting games across the board.
               
However, there’s still one person out there who can give him a run for his money -- someone who, if he’s not careful, is a match for him, and his greatest rival.
               
Me.

***

“Hey, what’s up?”
               
I turn my head towards the door.  As usual, I’m barely home for five minutes, and Rich comes strutting in, a goofy grin on his face.  Since he hadn’t had class today -- an irritating fact, if there ever was one -- I could only assume that he’d just gotten up five minutes ago.  Either that, or played some more Street Fighter.
               
“Grab your pad, it’s Tager time!” he declared, taking me by the wrist. 
               
I sighed and shook my head.  “Tager time” was a bit of a misnomer; there was no Tager in the SF universe, but rather in a completely different game, BlazBlue.  Of course, it had grown into a general phrase for my big brother, a throwing of the gauntlet.
               
“I’d rather not,” I said simply.
               
“You don’t have a choice.  Grab your pad!”  And before I knew it, he had dragged me into the music room, Xbox a-whirring, with Street Fighter already fully loaded.  “Ah, it’s already in.  Come on, let’s go!  Let’s go!”  Eager to fight, he slapped his hands atop his arcade stick.
               
“Why don’t we ever play BlazBlue anymore?” I asked, taking pad in hand.  “I’d actually like to play that instead of…”
               
But Rich’s mind is already thousands of miles away.  With a few loud clicks from his arcade stick, he selected his character: El Fuerte, a chef-turned masked wrestler with a penchant for speed and high-flying attacks.
               
I don’t like Fuerte.  That’s as kindly as I can put it.
               
I let loose a quick groan.  All right, let’s get this over with; I lay my cursor on Guile, the man blessed with two American flags tattooed to his arms.  Default costume, default taunt…
               
“I hate Guile,” Rich blurted. 
               
“Not my problem,” I counter.
               
As usual, the match begins; with deft motions, Rich steers Fuerte into the corner away from me, fully positioned for a counterattack.  It’s the hallmark of his strategy: baiting a slip-up, the slightest opening, and punishing you for even thinking you had a chance against him.
               
I could feel my teeth grinding.  Fuerte’s fighting style revolves around speed and unpredictability; his moves strike from behind, he can run away from most attacks, jump on walls, and body slam unsuspecting opponents.  If Rich got me on the ground, I knew, in a matter of seconds, I’d be kissing half my health goodbye.
               
Better play it safe for now, I thought, taking a few steps forward. 
               
“Sonic Boom!” Guile shouted, throwing out a boomerang of whirling energy. In my experience, it’s a solid projectile, made even more solid by its defensive properties; with the boomerang spinning ahead, I follow behind it as a countermeasure to an approaching enemy.
               
Unfortunately, Rich is far too fast, and far too able to pass it up.  After taking a few steps back, he executed Fuerte’s backward dash, sprung off the wall, and launched himself at me, elbow outstretched --
               
“FLASH KICK!” shouted Guile.  He leapt up from the ground, leg extended, and slashed at the sky with a fierce somersault -- and Fuerte as well.  In mere moments, the luchador is knocked out of the air, and crashes to the ground.
               
“I hate the Flash Kick,” grumbled Rich, readjusting his position.
               
I forced myself to restrain a smile.  Guile is known as a “charge character”; in order to execute his (two!) special moves, a player has to hold the control stick in the opposite direction, and then move it forward and press a button.  Because the charge move can only be done after two seconds minimum of charging, the moves can’t be done back-to-back; in exchange, the moves (in my opinion) have incredibly potent properties.
               
Guile is no exception.  His projectiles are faster, leave him less open to counterattacks, and interrupt even the most dangerous of Ultras; his Flash Kick is an effective anti-air maneuver, making anyone who faces him think twice about approaching from the air.  Because of it, Guile is touted as a defense-heavy character.
               
Too bad that’s not how I use Guile.
               
“Here we go!” said Guile (and me, internally) as the camera zoomed in on his steely face.  Suddenly, he unleashed his ultra: not one, not two, but THREE Flash kicks fused into one devastating attack.
               
K.O.  Point: the American hero.
               
“What the hell!  Tch, random ultra out of nowhere for the win, huh?  Huh?” Rich asked, foaming at the mouth. 
               
“It’s your own fault for jumping around so much,” I argued. 
               
As the next match begins, Rich is still fuming, and his burly fingers dug into his stick’s plastic base.  “Why’re you so random?  You shouldn’t do things like that; Guile’s not supposed to move forward, ever!”
               
I shook my head.  “Don’t really care,” I responded, trying to focus on the match. 
               
Of course, I did care; I just had other things on my mind at the moment, like the masked man shrieking “Fajita Buster!” at me.  Playing Street Fighter makes you take a good, long look at yourself -- where you stand, where you need to go…and how bad you really are at the game.
               
In simple terms, I’m nothing more than a beast -- not a Daigo Umehara-type beast, but a wild, untamed, un-caged beast.  I’m only comfortable during a fight when I’m the aggressor -- when my hits connect, when my opponent gets knocked off his feet, when my projectiles land.  It’s an oddly cathartic and maybe even addictive feeling; the thrill of battle, experienced by means of a few quick button presses. 
               
So you can understand if I get a little…overzealous, right?
               
I’ll throw myself straight into the fray.  I’ll use whatever move I have, thinking of interrupting my enemy, but unafraid of the consequences of an error.  I’ll use moves and attacks that the average player would never see coming.  With just a couple of quick attacks, I can make a miracle happen, and grasp victory from the jaws of defeat with a well-placed Flash Kick.
               
Extreme offense, for the sake of a kill -- no matter what the consequence.  It’s my fighting style (if one could call it that), and the reason we never, ever play BlazBlue: the extreme offense style is not only highly effective, but rewarded by the game itself…and playing defensively, in kind, is severely penalized. 
               
Street Fighter is both the thinking man’s game, as well as the chance to let loose and go wild.  Rich and I are members of the opposing camps: he’s the tactical, cautious, precise hunter, weakened by his adherence to fixed patterns and lust to punish mistakes.  I’m the wild, battle-hungry beast who wants nothing more than to sink his fangs into the opponent, weakened by a lack of experience and technique, and easily exploited.
               
Knowledge versus instinct.    The cold-blooded versus the hot-blooded.  Reason versus will.
               
The poster boy of the Street Fighter universe, Ryu, is the symbol of the game’s mantra: the desire to fight, to better oneself, learn and evolve -- something we could all stand to learn in life.  At the start of all his matches, he proclaims, “The answer lies in the heart of battle.”
               
Has Rich found his answer?  Have I found my own?  Why am I playing this game?  Do I really want to win?  How do I win?  Is it worth it? 
               
“El FUERTE…!” shouts the luchador.  He leaped into the air, ready to unleash his ultimate attack…only to eat a Sonic Boom and lose the match.
               
Rich turned aside.  “Why don’t random ultras work for me?”
               
“What works for me won’t work for you,” I explained.  After all, when has a hunter ever been a beast?
               
“Tch.  So random…” muttered Rich, heart full of regret.



***

I won’t mince words: Rich has always been something of a jerkass.  He won’t hesitate to taunt you, bug you until you tear your hair out, break promises, make absurd demands, act needy, and whine.
               
Oh dear lord, the whining.
               
Imagine my joy when he decided to focus all of his free time into mastering Street Fighter.  The game with so many flaws and possibilities, so many stats to scrutinize and memorize, so many combos to commit to memory…and so many Shoryukids to put down.
               
If anything -- ANYTHING -- doesn’t go right with him, he’ll make sure you know it.  He will repeat it, again, and again, and again, and again.  In the past, I’ve accused him of having a messiah complex: in his eyes, he can do no wrong, and his way is the path to salvation.
               
But, as payment for his tireless devotion, he has acquired skill after skill, combo after combo -- even moreso than half a year ago, a month ago, or even a week ago.  Left to his devices, and enamored with the glitz and glam of the tournament scene, he has evolved once more: from the hunter to the Terminator.
               
And as for me?  Well…
               
“Like those head scissors?  Like them scissors?” Rich taunted.  For roughly the hundredth time, he’s switched mains; now, he flips about onscreen as the dreaded M. Bison, dictator of Shadaloo, and armed with a perpetually psychotic smile.
               
I decide not to answer, and pick myself up off the ground.  In recent months, I’d taken a shine to E. Honda, the game’s “Hot-Blooded Sumo”; though I can put up an offense, I’ll have to get in close to make my magic happen.
               
Unfortunately, getting close to Bison is like pulling shark teeth.  His regular kicks prevent any approach whatsoever, and made more troublesome by Rich’s penchant for keeping his distance in the blocking position.  He’s largely unapproachable, and virtually any effort is met with certain doom.
               
Well, almost.
               
“HOOOO-YEAHHH!” roared Honda as he launched himself into the sky (apparently, he’s some kind of magic sumo); the villainous Bison takes the full force of the attack, knocking him out.  The match is mine!

“Oh my god, you’re so lucky,” sneered Rich, slapping his hands on the arcade stick -- his now standard reaction to a loss, considering that I hear it nearly every night.  “Why the hell are you so RANDOM?!”
               
I sighed.  “I just am.”
               
“So you’re just gonna say ‘Deal with it’ huh?  You’re such an asshole.”
               
“That’s a little unfair, don’t you think?” I asked airily.  I pointed at the screen, just as Honda concludes his victory dance.  “Besides, look how happy Honda is.  And he looks perfect in the game’s art style.”
               
“Shut up,” snapped Rich, hungry for a rematch. 
               
I sighed.  Another round…even though I’d barely pulled through in the last one.  I shot a look at my win percentage: wavering at the fifty percent line, and -- if Bison’s still on the field -- then probably about to go even lower.  Sometimes, it almost feels as if I’m cheating Rich out of a victory, winning by forcing him to slip up, or move out of his protective corner.
               
It pisses me off.  Losing by a hair.  Punished severely for even trying to come near him.  A washout of a match in his favor.  A washout of a match in my favor -- because I know that immediately after, he’ll just say, “So random!” or “Honda has too much health!”  Victory or defeat, the game just feels hollow to me, not because it’s gotten boring, but because it feels like I’m slipping up.  Our matches end up turning into who can poke who from the farthest distance, or who can capitalize on the other’s mistake first.
               
Make no mistake: I still prefer other games to Street FighterBlazBlue moves faster, rocks harder, rewards drive, and above all else is just too cool to be forgotten.  But I understand the special place that Street Fighter has in my brother’s heart, and in the hearts of countless others.  Some tournaments see turnouts in the thousands.  Fans and veterans alike watch in hushed awe as Daigo Umehara and his rival Justin Wong engage in fast-paced battle; as each match’s winning blow is dealt, the crowd screams in uproarious delight.  I can remember a few times when their cheers nearly knocked our computer’s speakers off the desk, following an unprecedented series of parries from The Beast.
               
Street Fighter, like anything else in life, requires skill, patience, dedication, passion, faith, humility.  The reflective disk lays bare the soul of all who hold it; in my experience, I’ve seen my strengths, and my weaknesses; the abyss of despair, and the skies full of hope.  I’ve seen my brother step forward, brave as ever, and come out stronger because of it.
               
Street Fighter is no less a game as it is a manifesto -- a mirror of what lies within you, within us all.  How far you’re willing to go, and how much you’re willing to stake on victory, is all in your hands.  Though I may be a beast, and never THE Beast, I want to step into the rabbit hole as well; I want to feel a reinvigorated passion, as well as to test my limits.  As it stands, all I can do is DP into an ultra with one character; someday, I want to be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Rich, and feel the heat of battle tenfold.
               
Street Fighter has come into our lives and caused a revolution.  Yesterday.  Today.  And now, the future.
               
The answer lies in the heart of battle, huh?  You make a good point, Ryu-san.


***

Rich busted into my room.  “New trailer.  There’s…a new trailer.”
               
I sighed and pushed myself out of my seat.  Interrupting me with that nonsense again…how irritating.
               
But, as he dragged me into the music room, my annoyance faded in an instant.  Before my eyes, the trailer to a brand new battle danced and crashed.  New characters.  New music.  New opportunities.
               
Super Street Fighter IV.  A budget-priced expansion, tweaked to perfection.  Promises of the epitome of the fighting game genre flashed through my mind.
               
“Damn, I can’t wait!” said Rich, a sparkle of childish glee in his eyes.
               
I nod and smile.  I’ve got work to do.



To be continued…
               

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