Done Playing: Street Fighter IV (Xbox 360)

sf4Katy and I both signed up for e-Rewards through Blockbuster Video so the best deal we can get are some free game rental coupons from time to time. We set out to rent Rock Band 2 and start a new World Tour but the store’s sole copy was damaged beyond use so I ended up jumping on the bandwagon and picking up Street Fighter IV.

Within two hours I’d fully relived my glory days with the series and completely burned out on fighting games once again. It doesn’t help that the Xbox 360 controller is possibly less useful for fighting games than a dead mackeral in your hands. The D-Pad is painful to use, the analog stick whips out Dragon Punches instead of Fireballs, and can we please start making controllers with six face buttons again? Trying to use bumper buttons and shoulder triggers in a fighting game is like the first time you picked up a GameCube pad, only I could never get used to it. Like every other console version of a Street Fighter game, I just relied on Medium and Heavy attacks on the face buttons and gave up on ever using Guile’s bitchin’ Weak punches again.

I’m not complaining about the game at all. For starters, it’s exactly what I pictured a 3D Street Fighter looking like all these years. It doesn’t even need 3D movement because the gameplay is dead-on perfect. Beyond the controller it plays like a dream and feels completely “Street Fighter” from the high kicks that always go over Honda’s head to the wall jumping antics of El Fuerte. I even managed to turn the tide on several rounds I expected to lose and ever-so-briefly felt a rush of strategic brilliance in a series of moves that turned into a multi-hit combo.

But I turned it on this morning and realized that I have no more desire to hit people. Be it punches or kicks or flashy special ultra finishers, I just don’t care. Squaring off against an opponent, one-on-one, hasn’t captivated me since Soul Calibur and after those first few hours of battles against A.I. and human opponents, I was done. Good luck World Warriors, in your quest for titles and icons and 108 round winning streaks, I’m going back to the Arthaus with Flower and Noby Noby Boy.

From the Archives