While many of you are into things like League Of Legends and DOTA 2. For me my start in what I guess would be classed as competitive gaming was in the arcades in 1993. Without sounding old, I had just started high school and the town I went to high school in had a video store (another relic) that also had a few arcade machines in it. One of these games was Street Fighter II. I played a ton of Street Fighter II on the Super Nintendo and would always beat my friends, but here in the arcade of this video store…… it was different.
First of all I had to get used to playing Street Fighter II with a joystick, which was actually much easier than you would think. But I also had to get used to the fact that I was no longer the top dog. There was two other kids, one the same age as me the other would have been about 16 who were also seasoned World Warriors. The way it worked was you stepped up to the machine and fought the guy standing next to you. If you won you got to keep on playing. If you lost it was back of the line with you. The longer you stayed on the more “respect” you got from the other kids.
Between the three of us I would say the older kid (Gareth) was the better player with me and Paul (the dude the same age as me) fighting for second best. On occasion one of us would take down Gareth, but he would always be back. It was such an intense, but also fun environment to be in. People would be shouting, cheering and even shoving. It really did make you have to step and play your best damn game if you did not want to be someone who only played one game and had to go straight to the back of the line. The funny thing was there was a kind of respect between the three of us. We would trash talk other players, but very rarely would we trash talk each other. There was actually a lot of respect. Which was quite unusual as Gareth was a few years older than Paul and I.
I would spend all my lunch money playing Street Fighter II and be late back to school on countless occasions. The Street Fighter II arcade scene actually lasted quite a while at this small arcade. But later in 1993 a fish and chip shop (it is a UK thing) got in a Mortal Kombat arcade machine and many kids started to go there instead.
It may not be as exciting as an arena full of people. But back in 1993 in front of about 10 to 20 kids. Playing Street Fighter II and actually winning was the coolest thing ever!