I remember the first time I saw Street Fighter Alpha. It was in a distant arcade just outside one of our city’s biggest universities – I’d only found out about it being there thanks to some excited posts on an early Usenet group in the dark, dim days of the early Internet.

And it was beautiful.

You have to know just what a shock to the system the anime-style visuals were. This was before the likes of the VS series made it common place, when it was really only seen in ‘off brand’ games like Darkstalkers, and it gave the Street Fighter franchise a much-needed fresh coat of paint. After all, the previous few years of new Street Fighter games were just re-re-re-releases of the last game with a few new characters or a speed boost or whatever. Suddenly it’s a new roster of characters and new combo systems and ohh it’s just so pretty.

I really liked it because man did it feel like they souped up Ryu’s range and since I just main as him it was awesome.

I walked up to the manager and told him I wrote for the country’s biggest newspaper, and did I mind letting me play on the machine for free for a while so I could review it?

You wouldn’t believe how many times that line actually worked back in the day. It wasn’t a total lie, I was doing some freelance stuff at the time, but he didn’t even check my credentials or anything. Ah, good times!

(Shameless plug time: I’ve also made a comic about the sequel, my favourite fighting game of all time, Street Fighter Alpha 2, and it’s only available in Super Blow The Cartridge, available NOW!)