27 February 2010
Man I suck at this game. But that doesn't mean I don't have fond memories in which it played a major part.
I was a sophomore at Towson State at the time. I lived on campus with a dude who made Captain America look like a degenerate. He was a nice guy but not a lot of fun. I spent most of my sophomore year with a group of guys who, like me, had about as many female prospects as the nerd character in a John Hughes movie.
But we had beer and video games.
Dave had a SNES and lived off campus. Dave was – and still is – a cool guy. He's also the kind of guy who is good at games. Cards. Risk. Basketball. You name it, he can probably pick it up and master it quickly. I don't think Dave ever practiced playing Street Fighter II, but I know he could kick my ass at it every time. He always picked the sumo dude. I picked Ryu because I figured a karate stereotype would have the advantage. I kept thinking that as Dave repeatedly launched that fat bastard into the air and slammed me down over and over again. I never won.
Luckily this was right about the time when I discovered scotch and Tom Waits. We'd play that game - and others - into the wee hours while sipping cocktails and listening to "Small Change" or "Rain Dogs." Sooner or later we'd put the controls down - or someone else would finally beat Dave and pick a different game - and we'd just listen to the music.
I know you super video game geeks out there revere Street Fighter II and I have no intention of cheapening its legacy with this boozy essay. But whenever I see that fat dude – his name is E. Honda - I get thirsty for a scotch and a little Tom Waits.
By Victor Paul Alvarez