King of the Ring
By Christian Decker
I got into video games at a young age, perhaps when I was 7 or 8. I remember my first gaming system was a Gameboy Advanced SP. I loved that thing; I remember playing my first ever game, Pokémon Fire Red, all the time. If I recall correctly, my first fighting game was Shrek Super Slam, which was basically a kind of Smash Bros game in which all the Shrek characters beat the shit out of each other and I’m not gonna lie it was pretty addicting. There was, of course, the flash game my younger brother and I played sometimes called Capoeira Fighter in which we both had absolutely no idea what we were doing, but it was quite the fun game, nonetheless.
I think the first “real” fighting game I played was Mortal Combat Vs. The DC Universe. The story itself was quite interesting, with the Mortal Kombat characters trying to fight against Shao Khan and the DC characters trying to fight against Darkseid. I remember the first time I played it with my brother, we got so pissed off at each other and honestly, that was pretty horrible. Competitive games will do that to you, but we quickly got over it. I remember having to go online to look up the fatalities of the different characters in the games which was fun because they were kind of a secret and they didn’t give them to you in the game. In all honesty, the game’s controls were so wonky and clunky, and it really didn’t tell you how to play the game all that well. But if that game did anything for me, it was to forge a lifelong curiosity and interest in fighting games.
The next game that I seriously picked up was Tekken Tag Tournament 2. I think I bought it on a whim one day when I saw it in a Target and just thought it looked really interesting. The game had such a massive roster of characters. Some of them, however, were “mirror” fighters, meaning that they had the same move sets as one or more of the other characters. This was pretty helpful considering that each character can have over a hundred different moves, not to mention learning all the combos and launches that go into a fighting game. In that game, I screwed around with a lot of different characters but mostly found myself returning to Marshall and Forest Law, a martial arts father and son duo who practice a style of martial arts that bears striking resemblance to Bruce Lee. At this point in time, I really wasn’t focused on learning all the move sets and combos because I was in middle school and had no time for such things. In fact, I still barely have time for such things.
My recent resurgence into learning different fighting games comes from playing Smash Ultimate with my old roommate Andres. I gotta tell you, he’s really good at that game. He helped me train quite a bit with getting used to all the different nuances of Smash, like tilting, edge guarding, air combos, and the like. I play a few different characters consistently, Young Link, the medium-sized Zelda protagonist with both quick and mighty attacks, Ganondorf the notorious Zelda antagonist, who hits very hard but lacks speed and recovery, and, probably my best character, Wolf, from the Starfox game series, whose move hits hard, and is agile, but again suffers from poor recovery. What really grated me though, is that he almost always kicked my ass, and still does to this day. I tell ya, day after day of losing to one of the cockiest fighting game players I’ve ever met will start to break a dude. All the same, it pushed my drive to learn how to play other fighting games if only just to kick Andres’ ass in them.
I’ve now taken up learning Tekken 7, trying to learn the pro-wrestling jaguar-headed fighter, King, inspired by pro-gamer Lil Majin’s run at the previous EVO tournament. As well as Tekken, I’ve looked into the anime style fighting games, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, playing as the katana-wielding pirate, Johnny, and Blazblue Crosstag Battle, playing as the switch-blade slice-and-dicer, Hazama, and grim reaper, Gordeau, encouraged by my friend Rob, who has been a lifelong fighting game connoisseur. I hope to play the new Mortal Kombat game when it comes out later this month.
The competition and satisfaction of learning to play these games, and also beating your friends in them is exhilarating. I’m still improving and working on my technique, but I hope to be able to get better and be more consistent.