31st March 2009:
It finally happened. The plan was almost complete and this was the final phase.
I went for a holiday in the USA, to Disney World with the children. And while I was there I took advantage of the exchange rate and bought a USA PS3. I saved about £100 by buying in the USA, although I maintain that it was actually free.
You see the exchange rate was basically $2 to £1 and it cost about $400., but now the exchange rate is $1.5 to £1. I exchanged £1000 so got $2000, but if I went now I would only get $1500, so $500 basically doesn’t exist any more, and it’s part of that non-existent $500 that I bought the PS3 with.
That was in July. There was only one reason I bought the PS3. Up until a couple of weeks ago I only had one game. Soul Calibur 4, which I bought as a stop gap… well you could play Darth after all.
This month though the main event happened. Street Fighter 4. For the first time in my life I decided to buy it at 12.00am. A quick ring around the shops and it turned out that a not-so-loal ASDA was open 24hrs and would sell it to me at 12.01am.
I got to the store at 11.58pm and literally took the game out of the shelf stacker’s hand as he was putting it on the shelf. Down to the tills I went… The lady swiped it over the scanner… Beep… try again… Beep… try again… Beep. “Sorry Sir there’s a problem I’ll just call the manager”. “hello Sir, just a tick”, beep, beep, beep. “it isn’t working, let me just go to another till and hand-type the code in”… click, tip tap, beep. Tippety tappety clickety sodding clack… beep
“Sorry Sir the computer doesn’t have a price in it yet, I’ll just get the game section to phone head office and sort it out”. Of he walked with my game in his hand. 10 minutes later he came back, “sorry sir we can’t sell it to you, there’s no price you see, you’ll have to come back in the morning. We can reserve it for you ”. AAAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
“But I’ve driven for 20 minutes to get here at 12.00am after phoning twice today to make sure you had it in and would sell it to me”, “Sorry Sir”. “Look, all the other new games are £37, why don’t you just let me buy it for that”, “Sorry Sir”. “How about I pay you £50, then tomorrow I’ll come back and you can write me a voucher for the difference”, “Sorry Sir, we just can’t sell it to you”. “You mean you just WON’T sell it to me”.
I stormed off and got into my car. Just as I was pulling off the manager came out, “just a second Sir, someone just put an Xbox 360 version through and it worked. Out of the car, back into ASDA, the bloke disappeared and re-appeared with my Street fighter in his hand. Swipe… Beep… hand enter it… beep. “no sorry sir it doesn’t work”.
“Well how about you swipe the 360 version through and put the PS3 version in it, then tomorrow I will come back and complain that you mistakenly gave me the wrong box?”, “No Sir”.
So I had to go home at 12.30 gameless, furious in the knowledge that some other lucky sod was sat playing his superior Xbox 360 version right then. AND I OWN A BLOODY XBOX!
I had to buy the PS3 version though on account of my joystick not being compatible with the PS3 (have a read of my “Great Stick of Everything” article).
So at 9.00am the next day I sauntered off to a more local ASDA and got it there. And so it began Street Fighter 4 day.
I pre-warned my family about SF4 day and took a day off work. I then sat and played it all day. My children joined in the whole experience by keeping me supplied with snackage. My wife joined in by waiving a rolling pin very gently up and down.
The game is perfect. There is nothing bad about it. It’s fighting perfection. And, for once, I wasn’t getting battered every time I played someone over the net. Don’t get me wrong, I lost most of the matches, but because I was getting used to the joystick. Often I would think of a move but couldn’t pull it off. So I knew I was keeping up with the fight and just needed to improve my dexterity.
I also managed to pull off the dragon punch focus cancel consistently, although the very next time I played I had lost the knack and couldn’t do it. You need to move your hands like greased lightning.
So the plan had completed. The planets had aligned and I was happy. Except for the spanner that always gets thrown into any works I care to stand next to.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’m shopping in ASDA for Mother’s Day. Obviously I had to check out the games, they’re on the way to the choccies after all. I noticed Fallout 3. I have a distant memory of playing the demo. An FPS which had difficult controls – buy it if you see it cheap. I fancied playing a new FPS being as I lent my brother my Gears OW 2 and it was only £20. So I picked it up.
They also had Okami for the Wii, for £8, which, basically, is free. I have it for PS2 but I think the Wii version will be better on account of the wavy sticky thing.
So off I trotted home (not forgetting the flowers and choccies) and gave it a try.
I couldn’t get used to the controls, and I seemed to run out of bullets all the time. Also I kept having to talk to people about interesting stuff. For three hours I sat there trying to suss it out. I was having a great time though. But then I found a targeting system that I hadn’t realised was there. It has percentages in it. Hmmm…. lots of talking…. hmmm… Quests…. hmmmmm percentages… hmmmmmmm Oh My god!! It’s an RPG. OH NO!
And there it was, I had spent 3 hours playing the type of game I am not allowed to play. Too late was the cry. I was hooked. Fallout 3 is astounding. The best RPG I have played, including Guild Wars. I’ll not ruin the game for you by doing a review here, but the point is that I have spent 12 perfectly good Street Fighter 4 hours playing this instead. From what I have subsequently read, I expect another 50 to evaporate with them.
SF4 is going to have to wait a little while . Although I did get a decent go at my mate’s on Saturday night. I had to use a pad but nonetheless, shoryuken heaven.