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Instant Replay: Street Fighter II


Street Fighter II is not a game that I would not stop playing just because Bison was lying motionless and broken at my feet.

I was twelve the first time I played Street Fighter II: The World Warrior at a bowling alley. I was ten seconds into my very first game when some snotty little ten year-old popped in his quarter and destroyed me. I kept coming back to get pummeled, until I used up my final quarter. Like a masochist, I fell in love with the game right then and there.

It was the first game I ever rented for my SNES (I'd been a proud Genesis man for years before Mario Paint worked it's mojo on me. I became a turncoat in the first Great Console War). In the two and a half days I had with the game, I barely slept. This was a game that even once it was beaten, you couldn't help but come back for more. There was always another challenge waiting for you.

At first, the cpu served my ass on a platter. I definitely needed a lot of work. Luckily there were 8 levels of difficulty. When you first play a fighting game, you know how it starts. You spend time experimenting with the characters, trying to find the one you suck the least with. And I felt like a kid in a candy store with a selection of eight characters (yes, eight. This was before the bosses were playable. Long before any New Challengers had entered the tournament). Then you pour over the instruction manual to figure out how to pull off the special moves. Finally I knew how that little bitch had thrown fireballs at me the year before. Once you feel slightly oriented you throw yourself into the game. And continue to get hurt a lot. But over time slightly less.

After about an hour I beat the game. But it didn't end there. I beat it on the easiest level. No fancy endings. Only a congratulations screen challenging me to try a harder difficulty. It took a lot more effort, a lot of continues and a lot of character switching to work my way up to beating level 3 and a proper ending.

I had reached the end. But it didn't end there. I was amazed to find that the ending was personalized for my character. It gave me a glimpse into the life of Blanka, a mutant beast reunited with his long-lost mother. This was incredible. And I had 7 more stories waiting for me. I spent the rest of that weekend uncovering the victorious lives of the Street Fighting combatants. I learned that Ryu was a true warrior, who lived only for the purity of battle. I learned of revenge, and coming to to terms with those feelings through Guile. And the emptiness that lies within after achieving that revenge through Chun Li.

I'd uncovered it all. But it couldn't end there. I had to own that game. Coming from a family that didn't have a lot of extra money, new games only came along twice a year. Christmas and birthdays. Even renting games was something that would seldom occur. But when my next birthday came along, I knew what I wanted.

Even though I had already beaten the game with every character, I still felt that I had much to accomplish. Harder levels still awaited me. I was no master, yet. I couldn't even pull off a dragon punch, unless it was by accident. This game and I were going to spend a lot of time together. And we did. I kept playing that game until I was able to beat the hardest difficulty setting: level 7. I'll admit that I threw my controller around the room until I broke the R button. But I kept at it. And I had succeeded.

But, it didn't end there. I had achieved the extended credits scene by beating the hardest level. But after mastery comes perfection. I needed to take out Bison without continuing. And later without losing a round. I needed to keep reworking my strategies for every character, until I found the ones that worked. I needed to get a feel for patterns and a feel for lures that my opponents would fall for. I finally got the ending screen with all 12 characters in their victory poses, congratulating me on my ultimate victory. As far as the game was concerned, I had achieved everything that I could.

But... you get the idea. I never would stop playing that game. I've put more hours into Street Fighter II (and it's updates) then any other video game ever made. And I keep coming back for more. Achievement was no longer driving me to continue the fight. In the end, I would play for peace of mind. Street Fighter became my form of meditation. I would put it in when stressed out or when I needed to concentrate. I would lose myself in thought. And after sometime had passed, I'd be sitting with a controller in my hand, the game beaten, and I wouldn't remember anything past the first match. And I was much more calm and clear than when I had started.

Beyond simply playing a game, having fun and moving on to the next, Street Fighter II gave me a fuller experience than any game I'd encountered before or since. It's given me calm. It's given me a respite from the toughest of times. Given me an outlet to clear my thoughts. After all this time, it still does me a lot of good to don Ryu's headband and Dragon Punch my way to victory. But, "Victory means nothing. The fight is everything."
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About Haxanone of us since 11:13 AM on 10.23.2007

Occasional contributer to Tomopop.com.

Random gaming facts about Haxan

Legitimately beat Mike Tyson and went through Another World Circuit undefeated.

Beat the original Contra without dying. Twice.

Can land the damn plane in Top Gun and can also refuel in midair.

Can't beat Ghost & Goblins without the level select code and has never lied about it.

Thinks Friday the 13th is a great game even if the physics, controls and weapons are garbage.

Mario Paint caused him to buy a Super Nintendo and largely leave his Sega Genesis behind. He has played it more than most video games and wore down the mouse pad so that the grid only shows around the corners.

Has beaten Street Fighter II: The World Warrior and Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers on the SNES on the hardest difficulty without losing a single round. Multiple times.

Is still friends with the girl who worked at a local game store and sold him Street Fighter II nearly 17 years ago.

Beat Final Fantasy 2 in a weekend when he was a kid, yet can't get through a role-playing game these days if his life depended on it.

Has never beaten Final Fantasy VII.

Prefers pads to sticks.

Likes the N64 controller.

Prefers the Duke to the S-controller.

Doesn't think that Super Mario 64 is all that great.

Got an Xbox mostly for Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. And thinks it's a damn good game. Really.

Swore he would never buy a Game Boy Advanced SP, but immediately broke down once the NES edition came out. (And regarding the NES Classics series, true in-store dialogue: "Dude, are you serious?! They seriously expect people to pay 20 dollars a piece for games they can just downlo...Ooh! Zelda!")

Really liked the first Halo. (Well, there goes my dtoid cred.)

Can rock out Dynamite Rave in Dance Dance Revolution like it's nobody's business.

Played the hell out of Animal Crossing: Wild World and hid that fact from nobody.

Stomped Brad Nicholson at Street Fighter IV, but had to resort to the cheapest of tactics in order to do so. ;)

Thinks you're really, really, really smart. And pretty.

Top ten favorite games (in no particular order):

•The Legend of Zelda (NES)
•Mike Tyson's Punch-Out (NES)
•The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)
•Phantom 2040 (SNES)
•Street Fighter II (any version)
•Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2)
•Final Fantasy 3/6 (SNES)
•Ico (PS2)
•Sin and Punishment (N64)
•Picross (DS)


I love drawing, though I realize that I'm not very good. I figured early on that drawing my own header art would help my blogs stand out. Thanks to Destructoid, and to the scanner that Carollelogram got me for my birthday last year, I feel like I've developed a unique style that's distinctly my own.

Outside of games I've got a DVD collection that is exploding out of a 5'x6' shelf (over 400 titles). So suffice it to say that I love movies. I'm a huge horror fan and I host an annual Dusk Till Dawn Horror Movie Marathon nearly every October. My top ten favorite films in order are as follows:

1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cativo, 1966)
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
3. Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai, 1954)
4. The City of Lost Children (La Citι des enfants perdus, 1995)
5. The Apartment (1960)
6. Strings (2004)
7. Heavenly Creatures (1994)
8. The Big Lebowski (1998)
9. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
10. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Music-wise, my top 3 bands are The Pixies, The Velvet Underground and Radiohead. I listen to damn near every genre of music (except modern country. I yearn for the days of Hank Williams, Sr. and Tammy Wynette). Hit random on my mp3 player and you'll get everything from darkwave to hip hop to 80's synthpop. I karaoke pretty regularly. I can't sing, but I surround myself with people who can. Still, you've not experienced all there is in life until you've seen me proper butcher True by Spandau Ballet.

Then, as for the literary interests, my love lies with pulp detective novels of the thirties and forties. Raymond Chandler is simply the greatest ever. And Dashiell Hammett is just fantastic. Lately, I've been reading through Frank Herbert's Dune Chronicles at Carollelogram's recommendation. Two books in and I have to say they're astonishing.

If you do the Twitter thing, Haxan1 is my handle should you want to follow me.

Feel free to friend me to your console of choice should you ever want to play a game of Street Fighter. Just be sure to let me know that you're from Destructoid and you'll get the royal treatment.

Blogs I writed:

•Virtual Console Review- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
•Review- Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop

Front Page
•Other Worlds Than These: The citizens of the land of Termina
•Community spotlight: Haxan goes above and beyond for the community

Monthly Musings
•Instant Replay: Street Fighter II
•The Start of the Affair: Solomon's Key

Editorials and assorted articles
•Does the Wii have RROD-type issues of its own?
•Okay, Nintendo. I guess that we can be friends again.
•Niero, do you have any idea what in the lobster milkshake you have done?! (dtoid 3rd anniversary post)
•10 things you might not have known about Haxan (but really only 8)
•Why Destructoid is awesome: Nilcam is the greatest edition (I honestly can't give Nilcam enough props for this.)
•Christmas shopping: Non-gaming, priest dad-style
•Bad Dye Job: A Darius Pickman Story
•"Congraturation" RetroforceGO!
•Nintendon't what?! Now you tell me just what the %#@$ Nintendon't do!

Neat stuff I played a bit part in
•The Destructoid children's alphabet book


Xbox LIVE:haxan1
PSN ID:Haxan
Mii code:8490 3559 2301 7665


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