I’ve never been good at fighting games.
I could get maybe two or three fights into Street Fighter II based on button mashing alone. Mortal Kombat was the next big thing at the time, but the controls were clunky and shitty and I never cared for it. That’s a Midway game for you. American engineering at its finest– our games are much like our cars.
Soul Calibur II was another story. Amazing graphics, tight controls, unique characters. For the first time I found myself anticipating moves, trying to pull combos and being more conservative with my button mashing. Then I stopped hanging out at arcades.
Fighting games are huge in Japanese arcades, which are themselves still huge in this country. Almost any given arcade will have all the classics (SFII, Guilty Gear, etc.) in a MAME-like cabinet alongside the newer iterations or franchises. They take their fighting games seriously and regularly host tournaments in the arcades, just like we used to in the US.
I wanted to recapture some of that aspect of my childhood. I wanted to challenge some Japanese kid to an in-game duel, even if it meant getting my ass handed to me.
Unfortunately every time we popped into an arcade they tended to be populated by couples, old guys playing the claw games or serious-looking guys heading straight for Bemani. We couldn’t find any children to corner. Perhaps school wasn’t out.
So we roamed the aisles looking for an SF4 machine when we discovered the joy of Fighting Climax.
From what we could tell, the character roster is pulled from various mythologies, anime and manga. I took too long to pick a character so the game picked one for me. I played a round as a really pathetic schoolgirl and lost.
The next time up, I picked the stereotypical “KING OF THE HIGH SCHOOL” character, the well-dressed troublemaker who smokes cigarettes! Then I picked a random who looked like my wife for support.
“Fuck yeah. Let’s do this.”
My first opponent was the same character I just played as. I kicked her ass.
My next opponent was another schoolgirl. I kicked her ass too.
My next opponent was another schoolgirl. I sensed a pattern.
I’m making short work of the endless stream of schoolgirls trying to dethrone me as High School King. I’m throwing vending machines at them, ripping up guardrails and signposts alike for use as makeshift clubs and maces, endlessly brawling my way through the hordes of squeaky-voiced females.
Finally fatigue set in and I started losing. By then I also had a full bladder and was looking for an excuse to abandon my post. Climax could not be fought any longer, so we grabbed our things and left.
So I did not get to challenge any schoolboys to a fight, but I did spend an entire hour defending my position as King of the High School.