Soul Calibur and the Red Thread of Destiny
When I was twelve years old a handsome boy, who I had never met, was responsible for putting a game in the theater arcade that I frequented.
Every other weekend my dad would come to pick me up, drive for an hour, and watch movies with me at the Regal near my grandmother’s house. We would often get there early, so to kill time before the show I ‘d play a few games. One day, and this is important in retrospect, a Soul Calibur machine appeared.
I was riveted.
Until this point, I had only experienced a major thrill for gaming with Pokemon and the Legend of Zelda – my consoles were usually hand-me-downs with one game, and if they weren’t, I only had one or two anyway because we couldn’t afford much. But this game was awesome.
I quickly realized that I needed to get better to make my dollar (or my poor father’s dollar) last. As the weekends went by I’d ask my dad to take us earlier and earlier, though I could never get him to bring us more than an hour before the movie. I played with my favorite character, Sophitia – I played religiously, vigorously, and loved every minute of it.
On one of these weekends, an employee happened to see me playing on his break and asked if he could challenge me, and that he’d pay for the games. Delighted, I said yes. Around $18 later he finally won and went back to work. He was not the handsome boy, but I was on to something great.
Doubtless to say, I’m pretty excited about the release of Soul Calibur V sometime next year. It will be interesting to see how the story pans out for Patroklos and Pyrrha Alexandra.
Watching some of the top French players handle the demo isn’t helping me with my sense of patience, either. The latest match posted appears to be this one, between Ivy and Maxi:
And here’s the reluctant warrior Pyrrha, though as far as I can tell her moves will look less like her mother’s by the time Namco Bandai releases the finished product:
New characters in the lineup include Natsu, Taki’s student and so called successor; Z.W.E.I., a swordsman with a mysterious background; Viola, his amnesiac companion; Leixia, Xianghua’s daughter; and the Alexandra children.
Looking back, I can say for sure that choosing to put my quarters in that arcade machine was a defining moment in my life as a nerd, and I regret nothing. The game has brought me a lot of good times, and even a lot of new friends. Last year, as a matter of fact, it was a good conversation starter for me at the Screwattack Gaming Convention. I have a hard time figuring out what to do with myself in social situations so I typically stick to the wall like Velcro and pout, but as luck had it Soul Calibur was there.
I’m not the best player, but I was holding my own. After a while I got into the groove and had a line forming behind me. A handsome man waited patiently to play me, and when he stepped up someone said “Hey man, watch out. She’s pretty good.”
“Oh, really?” was all he asked.
There went my winning streak.
I stalked off angrily. He turned to guy who warned him, who seemed a bit surprised, and smiled. “She’s my girlfriend,” he said.
Back to the red string of fate – that was him. That’s the guy responsible for putting Soul Calibur in the arcade when I was twelve. Our whole lives we’ve been narrowly missing each other. We had the same family doctor. We went to the same concerts and probably passed one another. We even ended up with the same friends despite our hometowns being so far apart – but that game essentially brought us together.
If we had met all those years ago things probably wouldn’t have worked out. He had college money to think about and I had puberty to prepare for. More importantly, we wouldn’t have had anything in common. Putting me on the path to loving video games led me to the day six years later where we gushed on our mutual love of comics, games, and everything great. He may not realize it yet, but he’s stuck with me.
I’m incredibly thankful for all the friends I’ve made because of Soul Calibur, and for the instant ego boost it always seems to give me. Only three people I played with at SGC beat me, to my recollection. The first was an unnamed but fantastic player, the second was Destin Legarie (though that was close, I might add), and that handsome man.
There will be a rematch.