I no longer hear the sound of marching, charging feet boy Or How the King of Iron Fist lay down his crown

I was going to start off with a bit about growing old (in general I dont mind it, though I’m also not super pushed on it). But to be honest I dont think thats entirely the cause of it, it is possibly an element. But only a personal one rather than a generally applicable one. After all, it has a lot more to do with a changing schedules and priorities which are generally unattached to aging. It could possibly be argued that the issue is with people I know growing up, but again thats rather inaccurate (and again changing priorities, schedules and locations are to blame). I suppose I could blame my general refusal to engage in the online element – but again I dont think thats the issue, after all I have no real problem with MMO’s and my objection is based on objective facts (lag is simply unavoidable and changes the game drastically) rather than personal preference. I suppose ultimately I would have to cite “Unreconcilable differences” and leave it at that. What am I babbling about you (justifiably) ask? As the title (somewhat obtusely) implies, I am done with fighting games.

“But Mick!”, I hear you gasp, “You love fighting games!”. Thats true I do. But I don’t really get a chance to play them any more. Certainly not enough to justify picking them up for full price. So far this year I have purchased (day one or pre-ordered no less) SoulCalibur V,BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend (still in its wrapper), Street Fighter X Tekken and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations. Between the three games I may have got around ten to twelve hours play. It struck me today when I was looking at the new SFxT DLC (on the one hand Capcom did a lot right with it, you can buy it per character and its pretty cool, theres also two “Buy X get Y free” options. On the other hand they yet again used bullshit regional pricing, €1 != $1 you fucks! and even if the DLC is cool I dont want to spend another €26 on top of a €50 game.) Now if I was playing this as much as I played Tekken 3, then I wouldnt have a problem, I’d easily get my moneys worth. The same holds true for the new SCV DLC, this is stuff I want to buy (and I’m generally more lenient on spending for fighting games as it is). But I just couldnt justify the expense.

It’s sad in a way, fighting games were one of the first genres of game I played and were certainly the frist genre of game I got really hooked on. Hours in the Isla or Potters, or later the Diamond Mine after school every day (or all day at the weekends). Which reminds me, I once got into an argument with a bunch of travellers in the arcade and ended up getting chased by a gang of them literally all the way out of town (to just past the Grand Prix garage for those familiar with the area). I was a lot healthier back then obviously because obviously running that far these days would kill me. Well, charming anecdote’s about “da Town” aside I’ve been a fan of fighting games for, fuck, over two decades now. I’ve been playing these games longer than some of my siblings have been alive.

But it simply doesnt make sense to keep buying them any more. I buy the games and the DLC that follows and maybe the strategy guide (if it gets good reviews and is written by someone in “the scene”). I follow the hardcore forums and practice my execution and my combos. I buy real arcade sticks, converters and parts, hell I even build my own stick and pick up custom prints and perspex overlays. And all this means is that whatever limited pool of people I have to play against (as I said above I generally refuse to play these games online) is made useless by dint of my (relatively mediocre skill). Because its not simply having people to play against (which is a difficult enough proposition) its having people to play against you who are at least invested partially enough as you, invested enough to improve so you have a decent challenge.

It’s tough trying to keep yourself invested in the single player elements of a genre that is defined by head to head multiplayer. I’ve tried. But not anymore. With college and various other shit going on (over the course of Lent giving up anime and manga has given a large amount of free time to engage with stuff I’ve been missing, like simply reading a book) I simply cant motivate myself to play these games. Love of the game only gets you so far when the game’s always called on account of rain (in this tortured metaphor rain is having no-one to play with).

Now even though I have sworn of fighting games and all their terrible extremities I would be remiss if I didnt point out that while my intention is pure one dark spot remains on the horizon. Persona 4 The Ultimate is the game I am looking forward to most this year (if anyones interested Dragon’s Dogma is in tight competition with it). I will definitely buy it (and have had it pre-ordered since it was possible to do so). Considering Persona 3 and 4 are two of my favourite games full stop the chance of me not buying a fighting game spin-off mirrors my chances of waking up tomorrow with super-powers – infinitely approaching zero. It’s also tentativley released on that most glorious of days, my birthday (as is Darksiders II for that matter). I had previously decided to gift myself with a custom made arcade stick (design’s all done up, half the internals purchased, just need to buy the rest of the case and some bits and bobs). I’m still going to buy it, but I suppose now it will serve double duty – as birthday present and monument.

Hmm well that all may have been a tad melodramatic, but thats what wednesday evenings dodging college assignements are all about (the irony that I avoided creating a blog in order to write an entry on one is not lost on me).

Listening to: The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man

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