Being so personally invested in the Fighting Game Community, attending the SFV UK launch event in London last week was a dream come true.
There were only 50 tickets available to the public, all of which disappeared within seconds of release. So to actually get my hands on one was quite extraordinary.
Some would say my luck was outstanding. I’d say it was my destiny.
I turned up at The Vinyl Factory in Soho not really knowing what to expect. The venue was discreetly tucked away on Marshall Road, where a young lady with a clipboard stood outside to admit guests. “Are you here for the Street Fighter event?” She asked as I approached. I eagerly replied and was ushered inside, feeling like an important member of a secret club.
I entered through a pair of Street Fighter logo-emblazoned curtains into a sizeable room rammed with guests and members of the press. I was in awe. Ahead of me were rows of PS4s, all running V with Madcatz’ new range of controllers – as well as plenty with DualShock 4s.
From then on it was a case of mingling, playing and taking in the scene, while the resident DJ pumped out tunes to keep the crowd hyped. The build of SFV on show was the final version with every character available to choose from. But I wasted no time at all in picking my gal, Cammy.
I toured the different stations, taking on other guests, but making sure to steer clear of the pros in attendance. Among whom were big names like Problem X, UM Tyrant and Logan Sama of Winner Stays On.
I took the opportunity to try the new Mad Catz peripherals, starting off with the £200 Tournament Edition 2+ FightStick. Now, in the community I’m what’s known as a ‘pad warrior’, but refusing to look weak in front of the pros, I persisted with the stick. I lost, inevitably, and so decided to move on to the fight pads where I felt more comfortable.
During a break, I watched Zoo Nation UK (a dance troupe dressed as Street Fighter characters) do ‘battle’ in front of a themed background. They were a marvel to watch as they kicked and flipped around the stage, their performance dubbed over by sound effects from the game. Everyone clapped and cheered as they bowed their heads. I (of course) had already made a beeline back to the machines.
My defining moment of the night however, was meeting Mr Yoshinori Ono himself. “If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have SFIV and certainly not V.” I thought as I approached him, ‘fan-girling’ all the way. I asked him for a photo, he pulled out his signature Blanka toy and posed with me.
Afterwards, I put my hand on his shoulder and gave him my sincerest thanks. He looked at me, smiling and said “No. Thank you for playing.” The man was a true gent. I left that evening excited and hungrier than ever for the finished product.
“Thirteen days…” I muttered to myself.