Street Fighter IV is out today.

I’ve been playing various incarnations of the Street Fighter series for 17 years (!), since Street Fighter II: Champion Edition in 1992. There was an SFII machine in the Wal-Mart in Eagan, and my friend and I would hang around there and pretend we knew what the hell we were doing. It was pretty awesome when we figured out how to pull off a hadoken – it seemed like cheating! You can attack across the screen! No fair!

I love 2-D fighting games (as opposed to 3-D ones, like Virtua Fighter and Soul Calibur), but the truth is, despite nearly two decades of experience, I’m terrible at them. The main reason is that despite fast-paced appearances, fighting games are, at their heart, strategy games. Street Fighter is closer to chess than to Call of Duty, and therein lies the problem. I have better than average reflexes, excellent ability to memorize things, and I’m a passable tactical thinker; these skills serve me well in first-person shooters, where superior reflexes and map memorization can paper over tactical or strategic deficiencies. Not so in a fighting game – reflexes play a part, certainly, but more important is strategy and mind games (also known as Yomi). I’m a more straightforward thinker, I guess, which limits my ability to play those kinds of mind games.

Maybe that’s also why I’ve chosen to remain an NCO instead of becoming an officer, despite everyone in the United States Army trying to convince me otherwise…