Street Fighter is back. I very clearly remember my first experiences learning Street Fighter II in arcades and in video game rooms in hotels while traveling with my parents. I ponied up the $70 for a copy of Street Fighter II when it came out for the Super Nintendo, and a version of the Street Fighter series has been part of most console lifecycles for me.

After about a week of playing with Street Figher IV, the newest iteration in the series, it’s like coming home. It’s both familiar and excitingly new at the same, time. It creates a great look with 3D effects (including some of the “brush stroke” things you can see in the intro video), while still maintaining solid 2d fighting fundamentals and impressing with technical merit.

Like its predecessors, it is alarmingly deep and rewards careful and dedicated play with layers of sophistication and rewards. It’s not for everybody, but I will say that I’m having much more fun with it than I probably should.

I desperately want to join in on forum threads and read up on the Internet about what I have just experienced this evening, but since I have not yet completed all the tasks in front of me, and I’m trying very, very hard to remain spoiler-free, I am simply avoiding all talk about it with others.

However, I do have this avenue of communication, so I’m going to write down a few thoughts about what I’ve been doing most of the night for the past three or four nights, because it has been amazing.

BioShock spoilers will abound after the break. I urge you: if you ever plan to play BioShock (and you should), you should not read ahead until you have had a chance to give the game a playthrough and at least decided if it’s for you or not. Playing the game without being spoiled in any way has been tremendously rewarding for me so far in the process, and I would hope never to disrupt that kind of enjoyment for someone else.

Know this, however: BioShock is so finely crafted and meticulously designed that it is not merely intended to be played, or even to be experienced, but to be relished the way one appreciates a gourmet meal or a fine wine. When your time comes, I hope you will take every opportunity to enjoy it.

Continue reading “You know that sound you just heard? That was my mind. Blown.”