|Posted on November 30, 2011 at 10:25 AM|
I'm a keyboard warrior. I've played a lot of Street Fighter over the past months, but most of it was on my laptop, usually over a console emulator. Though I've heard many good things about the visceral feel of a joystick and six giant buttons, I have never gone down to an arcade for the real deal. So on a whim, I took a bunch of my friends down to experience some eardrum-rending, blood-pressure-catapulting arcade fighting action. It was glorious, except for one thing:
Fighting games generally test two skills: strategy (blocking, attacking, mind games) and execution (special moves, split-second reaction, combos). As you play game after game, your brain slowly acclimatizes itself to the controls you're working with and the rhythm of each button press in the combo, and you develop muscle memory. Eventually, this lets you pull off sick multi-hit combos while devoting relatively little attention to the nitty-gritty technical execution, improving your game. Regrettably, it also means you have to start from scratch when you play with a slightly different controller.
I sat down at the Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition machine, tensed my fingers, cleared my mind, hit the start button, and got annihilated by the guy on the other end of the console. I couldn't do any Ultra Combos. I couldn't do a single Hadoken. Heck, I couldn't even reliably pull off a Sonic Boom.
I wrestled with the unfamiliar controls, yanking the joystick around in pretzel motions to no discernable effect, mashing fierce punch to try to reversal out of the mess I was sinking into, while my character ate a flurry of punches and kicks on the screen. My life bar plummeted. Game over. Insert coin.
It's a strange feeling when you know what you should be doing, but you can't help but flail around like a newbie and block desperately. When my opponent threw fireball after fireball from across the screen, I knew the exact pattern and timing with which to jump over them... except I was inexplicably walking into them instead. When he jumped into my face, I knew I could uppercut... but my character had spontaneously forgotten how to do so. A humbling experience indeed.
Until I stock up on fifty-cent coins once more, I'm sticking to arrow keys.
Categories: Street Fighter