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What Fighting Games Have Done for Me

By: ThatOlSkrull Nov 11, 2011 | 7 Comments

How fighting games have, and still are really affecting my life.

When I saw the contest for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, I was immediately interested. At first I went with the easiest option of just retweeting the Gouki message. 

-I didn't feel like making an account to leave a comment on the story. I also thought nothing I posted would be interesting/funny.

-The same went for the facebook option.

-As for the youtube option, as odd as it is, I'm not a huge fan of subscribing to youtube accounts.

-And for the story option, I really didn't think I had anything interesting to write about.


As I was driving to the gym today I was stuck at a ridiculously long stoplight and had a chance to check my twitter feed. I saw an update from Gouki reminding of the upcoming Ultimate Marvel contest. I thought about it and realized that I actually did have a, what I consider interesting, story to write that is quite relevant to Marvel 3.

Leading up to the main points, I have to explain a little bit about my history. When I was about six years old I was diagnosed with severe ADD and ADHD as well as some reading and writing disorders. I know a lot of people write those first two off as just being an excuse for being a little hyperactive I can attest to the fact that they really are life changing things. That year was the first year that I was put on medication to try to help level out my "disorders." I'm twenty one now, and it's only been about a year since I have decided to stop taking the medication. Putting this on top of therapists and psychologists and my life was basically an experiment. 

Because of these disabilities, I have always had an incredibly difficult time with school. I've always had trouble focusing, learning things as quickly as others, working in groups, and generally paying attention long enough in class to actually absorb the information presented. The worst part of it all was that I had a very difficult time being social due to anxiety about what others thought of me due to my differences.

Now, I don't quite remember how old I was, but during one Chanukah my grandmother got me a Sega Genesis. Thus began my instant, life changing interest in video games. Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Bubsy, Paper Boy, Vectorman, and Dynamite Headdy (this game rocks, seriously) became my comfort zone during my anxiety attacks and frustrations with school. Now, as much as I loved doing all of this, it only worked to worsen my social situations, it became a sort of endless cycle. I was upset so I played games, and playing all the time only increased my anti-social nature...You can see how this continued.


Fast forward quite a few years to my sophomore year of high school. During that period I was going through a really awkward depression. School was boring and difficult; I hated being at home due to frustrations with my parents which stemmed from my difficulty in school, and what social life I had seemed to be crumbling. Simply put, I was miserable. About halfway during the school year my grandmother passed away. She was the first family member whose death I was alive to experience. It was a really shocking event. 

After her death, I came to a grim realization; almost every family gathering I would sit down, eat my dinner, then run back upstairs to my comfort zone and continue to play video games. This lead to almost no interaction with my family. When my grandmother passed away I realized that I hadn't spent near the amount of time with her that I wanted to. I didn't really know her that well and now she was gone. It was a heartbreaking realization. At that time I decided that I would make an effort to not let my massive interest in my video games get in the way of my family and friends. 

Shortly thereafter I switched to a different high school and I began to flourish. It was a new environment, new teaching style, and the most important thing, new friends. School of the Woods could not have happened to me at a better time. My stress levels dropped through the floor and I began to actually form into an interesting, social, less anxious person. Simply put those last two years were absolutely fantastic. 

Then came college, a new place, a new city, and the chance for new friends. I had enrolled in a Digital Media Management degree, something right up my alley! I had to do well, right? There was nothing in my way. I made a lot of friends that year as well which helped me exponentially. 

My first semester of college went amazing. I couldn't believe that I made an A in Japanese, as well as two other classes landing me a 3.8 GPA. Probably the best I had done in an educational setting in years. It was great. Unfortunately it didn't last. The next semester things seemed to pile up incredibly quickly and my grades began to drop. Like a seesaw, as my grades dropped my stress rose. As my stress rose, my social life fell. Things were still intact though, so maybe there was hope. I came out of that year okay, ending with a below 3.0 GPA. Not terrible, not great.

My second year was a little bit different. I was in a new dorm and many of my friends were in other places. Because of the non-socialite I was this made keeping up a social lifestyle fairly difficult for me. Classes went in the same direction. As expected the work ramped up, the demands and work load grew and I began to get increasingly stressed. By the end of the school year I was so stressed that I was considering dropping out, going overseas, or some other option to just get me away from the stress of school.

However, this was the year that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 came out.  Back in the day I had a Dreamcast and played Marvel 2 for hours on end, though I never quite learned how the fighting system worked. Regardless, I loved it. The months leading up to Marvel were the most hype I've been for a game in years. I watched every video, read every article, lurked SRK, never heard of Gouki, and pre-ordered the game on the Capcom Store so I could have it release day. Course, I ended up being one of the several people who didn't get their game for almost two weeks, but that's neither here nor there. 

Now, mind you, Marvel came out in the middle of the school year. As soon as I popped Marvel 3 into my PS3, I was hooked. So free-form, so much going on, and so much to leaIt was amazing and I wanted as much of it as I could get. After a while it got difficult to be able to play as school started to ramp up and only a few months after the games release, it wasn't booted up half as much as I would have liked it to have been. The year ended and I ended up getting a house with some of my friends here in Austin for the summer. I ended up playing a whole lot of Marvel over the summer. Watched tutorials, fell in love with Desk and Trag, and truly began my dive into the world of fighting games. I couldn't have been happier. 

During this time I was taking two summer courses; Accounting 1 and Microeconomics, both very difficult and I had previously failed Accounting 1. These two classes took up a good deal of my time between the classes themselves, (3 hour classes five days a week on alternating days) tutoring, and studying . In between these times I always found a way to slip in some Marvel play. I was hooked and wasn't going to stop playing. Not to mention I had to get good enough to beat my little brother, though to this day he's still better than me. 

Eventually these classes too began to get more stressful than I could handle. In Accounting, I knew all the material. I could spit it out with my mouth closed but when it came time to take a test, I wound up with low sixties average with my lowest grade being a forty something. Economics just began to confuse me which hiked my stress levels to epic proportions. What was going to do if I failed both classes? Eventually I stopped going to Economics once I saw that my grade was in the twenties four weeks into the seven week course. The icing on the cake was that I failed Accounting by about two points. Thank goodness my professor was a godsend and let me redo some work to pass. A little bit of stress had been alleviated. 

After this whole situation my parents and I became increasingly concerned with the rest of my college career. If I couldn't pass two classes, how would I take another full semester? Eventually we decided that taking some time off to get a job work on dealing with my stress and learning disabilities would be the best course option.

So when this school semester began I was the odd man out. I wasn't taking classes and I hadn't yet found a job. Still haven't actually...But with all of the free time in between not having a job and not having class, I had more than enough time to play Marvel. My days began to consist of looking for a job, playing Marvel, and in a big success for me, finally going to the gym regularly for the first time in years. Right around September I joined Shoryuken to ask some questions and get some help with my Marvel game. The community was amazing. Everyone was so helpful, so ready to play games and tell you exactly what you did wrong, it was fantastic. 

Marvel quickly became one of the first things in years that I have committed to doing and not dropped shortly after. I became so interested in Marvel. I wanted to know everything and I wanted to get better. I began going to the local arcade at least once a week and even though I got destroyed every time, it was a blast. 

And then one of the best things in a long time happened to me. A few users on Shoryuken informed me that they were having a gathering to play some casuals very close to my house. I hadn't previously had a chance to play many live people other than at the arcade so I jumped at this chance. This was amazingly outside of my comfort zone however. To someone like me who has trouble even speaking around people I don't know, this was frightening for me. But this was Marvel, and within a few short months, it had become to almost define me so I took the leap and went to play with this group. 

It ended up being one of the most fun things I've done in years and I go play with this group at the very least, once a week. More recently, I have entered the Ranbats hosted by Arcade UFO here in town, something that I never thought I would do in a million years. Me, the most socially awkward person I know going to an arcade packed with people knowing full well that I would probably look like a fool playing and getting perfected. I'm still quite the scrub. But I went, and I had the time of my life. Being on stream was amazing; talking to people about Marvel was amazing, and just generally being around these people made me excited. 

More recently I have become interested in modding and then building my own fightstick. Mere months ago I wouldn't have dreamed of trying any sort of craft project. Instead, I decided that this was something I absolutely must do. I was so excited. Unfortunately I knew nothing of how to do any of the steps required to build one. After driving past a neighboring house I noticed that one of my neighbor's had a massive woodshop in my garage. As uncomfortable as it may have been I sucked it up and asked the man if he could teach me how to woodcut so that I could make a case for an arcade stick. He ended up being a master craftsman of over forty years. I've even made arrangements to go play Marvel with people from Shoryuken when I go back to Houston for Thanksgiving. 

These may seem like small, unimportant things to most people, but to me, all of these tiny little things; going to casuals, going to the Ranbats, taking up a project, asking a stranger for help, and going to the gym are all amazingly big steps for me. These events are not only slowly helping me come out of my antisocial shell that has plagued me for years, but is upping my faith in myself and my abilities to do things that I set my mind to. This is the first time that I've done something like this and written down all of my frustrating history, and while it was inspirited by this competition, it ended up being an amazingly refreshing task to lay this all out on the table.

These small victories are ALL due to my love of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, even my trips to the gym as I watch Marvel videos while I work out so I can learn while I work! 

Lately, my stress level has been dropping significantly, I have a little more confidence, goals to work toward, and have become much more social. 

These reasons and hopefully many more to come in the next several years are how I truly feel that Marvel has saved my life. 

So to Capcom, Shoryuken, and really the entire Marvel community, thank you for the help. I look forward to continuing to grow and learn with and from you all. Thanks for everything! 

TL;DR: Marvel is a godsend and forty dollars is way to cheap to be able to kick ass as Iron Fist. 


Also I don't know what a "Jimmy" is. Maybe a noob? 


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