I’ve been continuing my quest of finally being able to chill the fuck out. Keeping my head down and trying to relax. So naturally, this means I’ve been spending a lot of time playing competitive fighting games.
Normally, that just means playing a bit of Tekken 7. I’ve said numerous times that it’s the only fighting game I’m even remotely skilled at. Me trying other games has resulted in disaster. Playing Street Fighter 4, for example, and getting destroyed by teleporting Seth players and Dee-Jay cross-ups, not knowing how to react. Then searching Google turned up fuck all, instead telling me how to do a Hadouken, something I’ve known how to do since I was 8 years old. So I would give up, uninstall the game, and then repeat the next year. This would happen in other games, like Guilty Gear or Dragon Ball or Marvel or whatever. So to have any skill in Tekken was nothing short of a miracle.
But, in playing other games with friends who know what they’re doing, I’ve actually been able to sit down and learn their mechanics. I’ve even been able to win a few times! Convincingly, even! Which is, you know, great.
But what I’ve really been digging on is Dragon Ball Fighter Z. Or Dragon Ball FighterZ? Whatever. The one with Goku in it.
What I’ve liked about it (aside from being, you know, good), is the feelings of nostalgia it brings. I have not watched an episode of Dragon Ball in over fifteen years. But when I did, it was a big deal. I don’t talk about it much these days, mostly because I don’t watch a whole lot of it anymore, but anime was the thing for me as a teenager. Especially on Saturday night. By that point, my home life had gotten a lot rougher, so going out was not really something I could do without there being problems afterward. As such, I spent a lot of time staying in. And I stayed in during the big anime push in the US. Anime on TV. Manga in bookstores. The internet was getting bigger and better, and fansites and fan communities were thriving. For a lonely kid in a broken home, watching anime on Cartoon Network and downloading Japanese Mega Drive ROMs was the most fun you could have.
And of course, Dragon Ball Z was at the forefront of that big push. Not that I had never seen the series before; parts of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z had aired on Fox a few years earlier (6 AM Saturday mornings). But now it was a different, much more impressionable time. Sure, I liked stuff like Sailor Moon, Gundam, and Cowboy Bebop. But this was a show about big dudes screaming at each other for 30 minutes. Every five episodes, they would actually hit each other! It was very compelling at the time.
Anyways. My Saturday nights would see me watching long blocks of anime on TV (with reruns of Forensic Files and WWE Velocity in-between), while looking at anime fansites/forums, and playing ROMs on my shitty eMachines. Now, I definitely spent a lot of time with the Mega Drive Sailor Moon (a really awesome side-scrolling brawler), and Treasure’s 4-player YuYu Hakusho, but I also spent an inordinate amount of time with DBZ: Bu Yu Retsuden. I say “inordinate” because the game fucking sucks. It looks like shit, sounds like shit, plays like shit; a cynically made shitshow designed to take money from naive Japanese children.
Actually, Dragon Ball games of that time were all fucking garbage. That shitty NES game. The Super Butoden series on Super Famicom. The bad RPGs. Except for one, one very good standout. That was Hyper Dimension. That game was sick.
So getting into DBFZ is giving me all these warm and fuzzies from a different, maybe not better, but still formative time in my life. All the big screaming dudes are here, shooting huge fireballs at each other and obliterating mountains in the middle of an empty field somewhere. Makes me want to reinstall WinAmp, put on some skins that make it hard as fuck to see any of the text, and listen to some Malice Mizer while playing it. It’s great. Fighting games are great. Dragon Ball Z is great, at least in theory. Original Dragon Ball is actually great, and you should watch that.