We're now firmly halfway through May. As in, June is right around the corner. As in, E3 is right around the corner.
But as we spin toward the event that keeps us awake for 168 hours straight, stuff still happened. We brought on the newest member to the USG team, Eric Van Allen, who will be working closely with Matt on news. (Give Eric a nice and warm welcome!) Caty was away most of this week on Official Work Business. Nintendo unveiled a surprise Nintendo Direct focused squarely on Super Mario Maker 2. Rage 2 released, and Mike reviewed it. That's about it, I think.
For this week's Community Question, we were inspired by regular contributor John Learned's excellent Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike retrospective. 3rd Strike turned 20 this week(!), so we figured it's a good excuse to look back on our times smashing away at arcade cabinets. So tell us: what's your favorite arcade memory?
Old school fighting games. I remember the days of playing Street Fighter, Killer Instinct, and Mortal Kombat. You'd go down to the local arcade, throw what little cash you had in the change machine, and get either quarters or tokens depending on the arcade. Arcades always operated on "winner stays, loser pays" rules: as long you kept winning, you were essentially playing without paying.
So on the bottom of the arcade cabinet's screen, a popular game would have a line of quarters, each holding the place of the next person in line. You'd remember which quarter or token was yours, and watch as whoever the reigning king of the ring was just destroy newcomers. That's where you'd see the best combos, the Fatalities, and the Ultra Combos. That's how you learn about the games, through local gossip and seeing the magic in front of your eyes. I just remember that feeling. I don't want to necessarily go back to that, but it was a good time in my life.
Arcades were before my time unfortunately. There weren't a whole lot of true arcades (not counting Dave and Busters and the like) growing up. However, the Gamer Network crew (USG, GI.Biz, Eurogamer, VG247) went to a barcade-like establishment after an event sometime last year. It was there that I played a fateful game of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 against GI.Biz's North American editor Brendan Sinclair.
I think the match was over in about 2 minutes. At least that's how quick it felt getting my butt absolutely handed to me by Sinclair in front of a crowd of our peers and strangers. Was it my favorite arcade memory? Probably not, but it's the strongest one I have since I didn't have arcades growing up.
I'd love to put some anecdote about wiping the floor with someone on a game like Tekken, or the time I literally fell off the fake motorcycle trying to bank a turn, or hitting a Taiko no Tatsujin drum so hard the stick bounced back and hit me in the head. But my favorite will always be a friend and I strolling up to an L.A. Machineguns cabinet with a roll of quarters, determined to finally see it through to the end. I'm fairly certain we were the only people in our town to do it, and it ruled.
My answer to this question is going to show my age. When I was a preteen, I used to bike (or be chaperoned) to my town's local mini golf-kart racing-crummy arcade place. I would buy up a lot of tokens with lunch money, and camp out at the Dance Dance Revolution Extreme cabinet. I was never a pro like the people you usually see at arcades, but I was pretty good at a few songs that I could do on Heavy mode, such as "Captain Jack." If I had a DDR cabinet at my apartment and didn't live on an upper floor of a building, I would probably be fit as hell.