I really like fighting games.
I would even go on and say I love fighting games. The intricate controls. The flashy special moves. All of it. Most of all I love the competition. My favorite fighting series of all time is Guilty Gear, it was the first one me and my friends ever got really competitive in. Before that we just played Street Fighter Alpha, and Darkstalkers for giggles. We'd get bored of those pretty fast though. To be honest Street Fighter is far from being one of my favorite fighting game series. I've always thought the characters were bland, and the gameplay was kind of slow. I know my roots though. Street Fighter Alpha 3 is still one of my all time favorite fighters, it's just down on a list below Guilty Gear, King of Fighters, and Soul Calibur.
Now Street Fighter IV is out my friends and I have been competing amongst each other pretty regularly and I must say it's really pushing up on my list of favorites. Though I do still have my gripes with things like hit boxes, command input problems (all me I know, but I blame the 360 controller), and shoto-clones. I do enjoy this one as much if not more so than SFA3 from back in the day. I couldn't really justify spending 65 bucks on it though. A good fighter? Yes. A friend of mine already owned it, and I thought I'd never play it by myself. Then I rented a copy of it to mess around and unlock characters and give the online mode a shot. The online play might justify a purchase after all.
After playing a few ranked matches I found I was enjoying myself almost as much as if I were playing with a friend in person. I play without a mic so I don't have to talk to anyone who may or may not be a complete moron, which takes away the trash talk I would normally swap with friends as well as the odd compliment for a well place special move, or perfectly executed combo. Still it felt better than playing against the CPU which is either so stupid all it does is stand in one place, or so hard it can execute a move you need to charge back for 3 seconds to perform while moving forward. Playing against real human opponents is a great deal more satisfying.
Not only do you get the joy of not knowing what to expect from a living thinking player, but you also get the insane adrenaline rush of fighting for something against another human being. I love that heart pounding feeling of playing against another human being. Be it in an online shooter, or MMO PVP. I get tense. Adrenaline starts pumping and I get a small high from it. My wife hates it because when I'm doing poorly I tend to snap at her unintentionally. What can I say? I am a sore loser.
Today I played the new championship mode and it's even more enjoyable. You're actually fighting for a grade instead of a few points. Once you graduate to a higher grade you face more players your level. Playing ranked matches I won alot more than I lost. The reason for this would seem to be that all the really good players moved over to Championship mode. I was beaten down so mercilessly it fueled a rage that almost made me smash my TV. After I took a moment I realized I just needed to get better.
All in all a great way to hone my skill. As soon as I collect my next pay check I think I'll be buying myself a copy of SFIV. If I can't talk myself into just waiting for Blazblue in June...