The Perils of Playing: Fighting Games


I don't know how you, dear retro reader, played fighting games when you were growing up but the first thing I did was change the button configuration. Much to the chagrin and groans of my brother and friends, I inevitably went into the options menu to swap out the buttons.

The goal was to swap out the light attacks for heavy attacks. It seemed to me that most people use the heavy attacks so who in their right mind you would use light attacks unless you wanted to troll someone by crouching and constantly hitting that jab button.

The game I did this the most with was Street Fighter II Turbo for the Super Nintendo. On the SNES controller the default button configuration for light attacks were the bottom two buttons (Y and B) and the top bumper buttons (L and R) we're the hard attacks. It boggled my mind why anyone would leave the heavy attacks at the top of the controller. I wanted them in a place that was quick and easy to get to so I could wreak as much havoc as possible in the shortest amount of time.

It's safe to say that Street Fighter II Turbo was one of the most raging inducing, controller smashing video games of that era. The game not only had players competing to win bouts but also competing to see who could come up with the best name for being cheesy. These included, but were not limited to, expletives like cheese king, cheesemonger, king of cheese mountain, cheese boy, Arnold Cheesinator and many, many others. Oh, and let's not forget the ever popular slapping the controller out of the hand of the winning player at a most crucial moment in the match. Of course, SSF2T was not the only fighting game this happened in. Other games included Mortal Kombat, ClayFighter, and Primal Rage, etc.

It was because of these moments that I had an ulterior motive for changing the buttons and urged my fellow fighters to do the same. My friends were consistently breaking the top bumper buttons by slamming their fat fingers and thumbs into them for heavy attacks. Every time I heard that simple little crack then that loose, flaccid button just popping around I'd get a sick feeling in my the bottom of my stomach.

That would immediately end the play session and have me yelling at my friends to “get the hell outta my house!” I swore to myself that I would never let those perpetrators of such a heinous crime play with me or my poor controllers again. But once you’ve beaten story mode for most fighting games the only other reason to play is with your buddies so I’d eventually have to let them back in to play with me.

But, not before I had to fix the damage they caused to my precious controllers. Truth be told, it was nothing a little crazy glue, duct tape and some down-time couldn’t remedy. I actually got so good at repairing those controllers I could have opened up my own controller repair shop, albeit only for those specific controllers with broken top buttons. And in a way I kind of did. I used to charge schoolmates to fix their broken controllers. It actually made me enough cash to buy a new game by the summertime.

So kids, the moral of the story is let your friends break your stuff, get real good at fixing it, then charge other friends to fix theirs.