2, Issue 6
December 13, 1999
the Mouth of Madness:
this week's cover story is devoted to fighting games, I thought
I'd take a moment to recall my personal history with the genre,
and just hop down memory lane (as I'm apt to do from time to time).
experience with fighting games turns out to be the same as most
old-school gamers...the original Karateka. Created by Jordan
Mechner (who would later make a name for himself as the creator
of the meticulously rotoscoped title Prince of Persia)
while he was still in college (living in the dorms, nonetheless!)
the game was a combination of many genres that exist today. It
was a side-scrolling game, but it incorporated elements of what
we would call today a fighting title. Best of all, it looked just
plain great. In every respect, this is a classic. If you missed
it, chances are you won't understand its significance...but it
was a real eye opener.
them kickass graphics, baby! (55k(
in Karateka, your character had legs! You could see them!
Other games of that era didn't even come close to that! Sure you
had guys like Mario that moved, but they didn't look like people
did...in Karateka, you could run! For an Apple II (or,
in my case, an Apple IIC) this was some hardcore stuff, man.
real exposure I had to a fighting game was when I played this
weird looking game called Street Fighter in a local arcade.
The game was ugly, dusty, and looked like it hadn't been used
in years. It was buried away in a corner, and when I decided to
try playing it, I quickly realized why. It was hard! I had never
played anything like it (most people hadn't) and I wasn't used
to this whole "combo move" concept. In most games of
the day, you had a "jump" and "attack" button
- and that was it. Here I was supposed to throw punches, kicks,
and move my joystick at the same time? Are you mad, man?
to say, I didn't care for it. In fact, I buried it away entirely,
until a friend of mine, who owned one of those import PC Engine
systems (the Japanese TurboGrafix 16) told me about this kick
ass game he had just gotten for the system's CD-ROM (which was
beyond bleeding edge at the time) called Fighting Street.
I ran over, and checked the thing out, as anything that came on
a CD in those days was totally badass (hey, I was impressed by
Cosmic Osmo, what do you want from me?). And while I proceeded
to get my ass kicked out of my head (in Japanese, nonetheless)
I started to understand how the thing worked. And before I knew
it, I was actually enjoying it.
funny thing is, I never made the connection between Fighting
Street and Street Fighter. What the heck was wrong
with me? It was basically the same game. Same characters, same
levels...cool soundtrack, but still the same game. And I swear,
I didn't figure it out until I played Street Fighter II.
who weren't around arcades the summer Street Fighter II was
released can't really understand the significance of the game.
This thing wasn't just a new game...it was literally a revolution.
There had been some great draws to arcades before, but nothing
(in my hometown, anyway) could compare to Street Fighter II.
You would be driving down the street, and pass by a bowling alley,
which had a giant sign outside that read, "we have Street
Fighter II!" and people would drive from miles to