Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Defending my honor
Everything was on the line. To the loser went nothing but shame. To the winner - glory past compare. My self-esteem, my self-WORTH was on the line. I had to... I just HAD to beat this 16-year-old in Street Fighter IV.
I actually liked him a great deal. He's the son of a friend of mine. He runs track. He collects comics. He's hilarious and seemingly well-adjusted.
But then video games came up. He said a friend was giving up video games for lent and was bringing over his Street Fighter IV... which, like, just came out. The name of the game takes me back to high school, playing Street Fighter 2 in my friend Matt Bromberg's basement, or at Geo's house at all hours. I bought a SNES in high school just so I could play it at home. I played well - could beat the game, certainly. My guys: Guile and E. Honda, mostly.
So when this kid brings it up, I naturally expressed interest.
"You will lose," he tells me, channeling Dolph Lundgren from Rocky III.
So the game was brought out. The standard side-scrolling action was the same. Most the characters hadn't changed much, although they added a few more as they always do. My teenage friend loved Ryu (which he correctly pronounced "Reh-yu" instead of "Rye-Yu" like I used to) and Ken. That spoke well of his abilities - their special moves were tough, and they are considered to be the most well-balanced fighters.
He talked lots of smack, as all teenagers ought to. He and his first opponent were evenly matched. I called winner. The whiz-kid pulled off 6+ hit combos, and got off some "Ultimate Hits" (whatever that is) and other shenanigans.
It was me versus the track / smack star. I found a comfy position on his couch. High school flashed before my eyes - those days were 25% school, 15% sleep, 20% teenage trouble-making and 40% video games. If all those hours were worth anything - anything at all....
I HAD TO BEAT THIS KID RIGHT NOW.
He chose Ryu. I chose Guile, exhaled, and pressed A.
Long story short: Ryu laid unconscious in Hell next to an exploding volcano. Guile, meanwhile, dusted himself off, combed his flat-top and made disparaging remarks about Ryu's mother. 'Natch.
Posted by Jonathan Rubin