Michael Huey

DeviantSF

As we continue on the path to our Valentine’s Day 2015 launch (85 days and counting), we hope more people will come to us and share their own personal Ryu/Chun-Li stories. Today we are honoured with a blog entry from…

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Michael, the blog is yours.

There are two kinds of Street Fighter fans: the artistic and the competitive. I actually fall into the former category.  Street Fighter II World Warrior was actually one of the first games I played when I got introduced to video games as a little boy. I played it with my brothers at home and at the nickel arcades. Time passed and with that came more fighting games, including Tekken and Mortal Kombat.  I played those games too. But as I grew older, and now as a young adult, Street Fighter continues to be my favorite fighting franchise. And my two favorite characters are Ryu and Chun-Li.

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Ryu is the classic lone world warrior. He travels the world and fights to become stronger than he already is. He’s a skilled fighter, a near master at his craft. But this doesn’t satisfy him. That fascinates me because Ryu doesn’t want to be better than others as much as he wants to be better than himself.  And beyond his desire to improve, he is humble. He doesn’t walk with his chest all buffed out. He doesn’t walk around brash and bragging. He just walks. After a fight, he walks to find the next one. Ryu’s life is an unending journey of self-fulfillment tempered with modesty, and that is why I always admire Ryu as a character.

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The only character that just edges above him as my favorite Street Fighter character is Chun-Li. On the surface, she brings much to the table: her signature legs, her lighting quickness, and her superb fighting skill! (Seriously, who doesn’t find a woman kicking ass sexy?) But what appeals to me even more is what lies beneath her physical attributes. She’s intelligent, sweet, caring, compassionate, and feminine. She has a strong sense of honor, justice, and devotion to her family. Taking all these things together, she definitely lives up to her title as “The Strongest Woman in The World” A title only reinforced by the fact she was the first female character to emerge in a fighting game, a violent world full of maleness where she proved she could not only hold her own, but come out on top against world renowned fighters.

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Using either Ryu or Chun-Li, I can pick up a controller and play Street Fighter as well and sometimes better than the next guy, as many of us can, but the competitive scene hasn’t really interested me. I was never fascinated with “who was the best of the best” as much as I was intrigued by Street Fighter’s wide range of colorful characters and their stories.

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I play and watch Street Fighter to follow and enjoy the game’s ever progressing story. Every Street Fighter artwork I see, every Street Fighter comic I read, every Street Fighter cinematic I watch,  I wonder: “Has Ryu found out what it takes to become a true warrior?” “Does Chun-Li finally get to destroy Shadaloo and avenge her father’s death?” These characters are on a journey with many twists, turns, and obstacles in the way of their final destination, and I enjoy every moment of it. But now, sadly, the moments of this journey have become few and far between. I know all there is to know now about the Street Fighter story to the end of Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, the current end of the Street Fighter story (As most of us know, Street Fighter IV is actually a prequel). And I’ve read every comic UDON Entertainment has to offer. I had no choice. I had to hit the internet to find more!

I have gone on to YouTube and fanfiction.net to find any kind of creative content that would satisfy my need for more Street Fighter story. There is one author that I remember distinctly.  His handle is benlie-gwevin-fan1. The reason I remember this story is because it not only featured, Ryu and Chun-Li, my two favorite characters, but it had those two characters… together… as a couple… fighting for a shared common goal. And there wasn’t just one story. There was an Akuma saga, a Shadaloo saga, and a SFII saga. I was hooked! And with every page I read, the idea of Ryu and Chun-Li together instead of apart was burned into my mind. But as much as I loved these stories, a comic book fan like me can only live on pure text for so long. My cravings for something visual began to rise.

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I eventually got so desperate that I tried to find any kind of fan made Street Fighter comics online, particularly starring Chun-Li since she is my favorite. One image search led to another and then finally I came across a Ryu/Chun-Li image that I had never seen before. It was a picture of Chun-Li and Ryu standing in a spring with their swimsuits on, with the big bold yellow word PERFECT sharing space with them. I thought to myself, “Oh, this is new, I wonder if there is… yep, there’s more… more… and more!”  and that’s when I was found the Ryu x Chun-Li Project. And there was not just art, but a blog!

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I checked the blog every day, rereading past entries, seeing new artwork I hadn’t seen before. It was amazing. And it was all part of a much bolder, grander plan: a fan-produced graphic novel: Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle. A SF Fan named Sean Anderson had worked for over two years to create something that my heart has been yearning for a long time: a new Street Fighter comic with Ryu and Chun-Li as the centerpiece! I had found my heaven. I now have a new Street Fighter story to anticipate. It is like counting down to the release of the next Street Fighter game. My excitement was overwhelming. And a big part of that was Sean. He is a Ryu/Chun-Li fan like no other before him. Most fans just watch and hope other people will make things happen for them. But Sean, I could see from his blog, was a true man of action, and he was going to take Ryu/Chun-Li beyond the realm of text only fanfiction and the confines of a few pieces of fan art. He was going to take Ryu/Chun-li to the place I’d always hoped they would go: to the next level.

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Like most people watching Sean’s project, I started by “liking” his Facebook page, read more entries on his blog, saw his calls for help, and then decided to…wait.  So I waited. And waited. And…waited. But as I waited, something was eating at me. Here was Sean working so hard on something I knew when he was finished was going to make me happy, and he was more than willing to let people help, and yet, as a Ryu/Chun-Li fan myself, I was just waiting and watching him work. It was like watching a fellow human being trying to climb up out of a deep well and me not reaching my hand down to help him out.

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Finally, I could stand it no longer. And I am pleased to say I have not just donated to the Ryu X Chun-Li Project, but I have written and commissioned an awesome multi-page mini-comic for it! I have always wanted to write my own Street Fighter comic, and now I have. And now with the help of an amazing artist, Sergio Briseno, it is coming to life.

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A soon to be colored panel from my upcoming mini-comic

Now perhaps your thinking, Michael, you could have produced your own Street Fighter mini-comic any time. Yeah, that’s true. But I would have had to do it alone. What your not thinking about is the bigger picture. Sean’s project isn’t just a book anymore. At nearly 250 pages and growing, It has become a community, a place where people wanting an official Ryu/Chun-Li story have placed their hopes. Sean is not just giving us a book. He is also going to take a shot at convincing CAPCOM to produce something Ryu/Chun-Li as well. And with all of us behind him, it may just work. But I know, as many do, CAPCOM, like any company, responds to money, and by putting my money into a comic for Sean’s project along with him and everyone else involved in the Ryu/Chun-Li Project, I am showing CAPCOM that if they did produce something official for Ryu/Chun-Li, I would seriously put money down for it too. “Hope, sacrifice, pain: they all collide in a dangerous fight for love.” That’s what my upcoming mini-comic is about. And very much what the Ryu X Chun-Li Project as a whole, in its attempt to make Ryu/Chun-Li something CAPCOM gives some serious thought, is about too.

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I still check the internet for any news of new upcoming Street Fighter games or creative work. I’m still waiting for the next UDON Street Fighter comic to show up. But, above all, I’m waiting for the graphic novel “Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle” to be released. Valentine’s Day 2015 may seem so far away, but that is fine, because I now know that a Ryu/Chun-Li story will finally be told in a visual medium, a message will be sent to CAPCOM in the form of one amazing graphic novel, which like a great cathedral, is the work of many hands.  And the best part is… I, and my story, will be a part of it.

What about you?

 

ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

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Frequently Asked Questions

Hey RXCLP fans, we hope you’ve been enjoying the reviews we’ve been posting, and we hope they are building your confidence regarding our work so that you’ll help us out.

This blog entry will be home to any frequently asked questions we receive between now and the book’s launch. We will update this entry and repost the link to it on our Facebook page from time to time. Enjoy!

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A physical release?

Some people who have been watching the project have asked us if we plan to produce a printed version of our book. Yes we do, but only around four copies: one for CAPCOM USA, CAPCOM JAPAN, UDON Entertainment, and the producers of Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist. How we are going to produce these copies at a reasonable cost? We’re still figuring that out, but we will find a way. For the public, it’s best to keep the work digital as this makes it much easier for our book to be shared all over the planet than a bunch of heavy printed books sitting collecting dust on people’s shelves would.

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Don’t you want to make any money?

If this project somehow leads to me being paid for my efforts, fine. But that’s not why I started this project. I started this project because I wanted this book to exist. My life felt incomplete without it. What I currently hope for is a positive reaction to this book which down the road results in CAPCOM green-lighting a two hour Street Fighter animated movie based on the Ryu/Chun-Li concept that is as much canon as Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie is. And/Or, I hope that the Ryu/Chun-Li concept becomes the final season of the Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist series. A fan boy can dream, can’t he? Also, I now have two years experience producing a comic I can put on my resume. Not too shabby. I wonder where that will take me.

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When our book launches, it will include the above page with links (another advantage of a digital release). If the world’s response is positive and the positive comments are plentiful, I will gather them up and try to get CAPCOM to take an interest in Ryu/Chun-Li. If not, the book still exists, and I can read it anytime I want, and so can the world. That’s still a lot of win.

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Why do artists who donate artwork need to keep the artwork confidential until the book launches?

Well, besides the obvious benefit of keeping the book fresh for the public upon release, the plan is that all the artists will be free to post their work on February 14th, 2015, Valentine’s Day! That means a flood of Ryu/Chun-Li art being released in different places on the internet all at once (or around the same time at least) in the month of love for people to react to. This is an excellent way to promote the book and to get the idea of Ryu/Chun-Li into the public consciousness. “Gosh there is a lot of Ryu/Chun-Li art all of a sudden!” ;-) I am extremely grateful for the patience of our donating artists. They bring the awesome that allows this plan to work.

Why donate to this book?

If you buy a book, you get a book, end of story. You can do nothing to make it better. However, if you donate to our book, you still get the book, AND your donation (money, a piece of art or a mini-comic you made yourself, or a piece of art or a mini-comic you commissioned exclusively for our book) creates a better reading experience for you and everyone else who reads the book. Plus, there is a part of you in the book as well which will help convince CAPCOM there is money in them thar Ryu/Chun-Li hills!

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 Will there be a sequel to our book?

If the fans love and support this book we’ve created, and CAPCOM decides to pass on Ryu/Chun-Li, we’ll head to Kickstarter for a sequel and let the fans decide if they want more.

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How many artists have actually donated artwork and/or mini-comics to this project?

Oh, that’s easy! Just go here.

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That’s all for now!  Do you have any questions for us? Ask them below in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send an e-mail to ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

More next time!

ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

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Our Fourth Review!

Remember that article about the brain and grammar study we posted on our Facebook page a little while ago? If not, you can check it out here.  But for those of you who do not wish to delve into the cool science…

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“Even when you don’t pick up on a syntactic error your brain is still picking up on it. There is a brain mechanism recognizing it and reacting to it, processing it unconsciously so you understand it properly.” –Laura Batterink. Journal of Neuroscience. 8 May 2013.

Enter Jason Wan. Jason has been a dear friend of mine here in Japan since 2000. We are united by many things, two of which are our love of comics and our love of Street Fighter. He is arguably the best Street Fighter player amongst all my friends.  He is also particularly awesome at Street Fighter EX where his Blanka/Chun-Li team is nigh unbeatable.

But besides his Street Fighter skill, Jason has an extremely keen eye for written errors. Why he hasn’t made his fortune in editing, I’ll never know.

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I’ve read our project graphic novel, Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle several times now. Each time I look for errors. And recently I thought the book was clean. But it turned out, like Batterink said, my brain was just correcting some errors for me and not letting me see them.

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Can you see the grammar error in this panel, or did “they” “plan” it this way?

Unlike Chun-Li’s subtle pronoun/noun agreement error above, there were errors in the project book that were so ugly that, if Jason hadn’t found them, I would have felt like an absolute idiot. Not to mention I would have had to hear about the errors forever from the readers to come.

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So, just before I hand the blog over to him for his review of the book, I want to give a HUGE thanks to my good friend Jason Wan for helping this book be the best reading experience it can possibly be, not just for me, but for the world. Thanks, Jason. Whew, that was a close one.

And now, Jason’s Review:

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If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. When it comes to Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle, truer words were never spoken. This labor of love comes from not only the mind of Sean Anderson but also his heart and soul. Instead of waiting around for the story he wanted told about two iconic Street Fighter characters, he took it upon himself to create a work that should please fans of a Ryu and Chun-Li pairing as well as hardcore fans that have followed the Street Fighter franchise since its first video game more than 25 years ago.

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Set in the slightly distant future of the Street Fighter universe, The Heart of Battle is a “what if” examination of the lives of several Street Fighter characters, most notably Ryu and Chun-Li. Although the story starts off in Hong Kong, it does not stay there as the action shifts from China to Japan. Along the way, there are glimpses of other places around the world and into the lives of the other Street Fighter characters.

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However, make no mistake that this graphic novel revolves around the relationship between Ryu and Chun-Li. It is clear from the opening pages that the writers have done their homework on these two characters. When the story starts, Ryu is the consummate wandering warrior, drifting from tournament to tournament in his never-ending quest. Chun-Li, on the other hand, has retired from her quest for vengeance following the demise of her father’s murderer, M. Bison. Even though she has retired from her life as a street fighter, this does not mean action does not come looking for her – fans will be glad to know that the novel stays true to its “fighting” roots.

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There is something in this graphic novel for all Street Fighter fans. Characters from Street Fighter to Street Fighter III and IV make an appearance; it is quite clear that the writers have devoted a lot of their time becoming familiar with the entirety of the Street Fighter universe. This devotion shows in how the characters are written – all of the characters act and behave as you would expect them to. Someone who is not as dedicated to the Street Fighter franchise would not be able to portray each character’s personality so accurately.

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From beginning to end, it is easy to see the love and reverence with which the Street Fighter characters are treated. Interspersed throughout the graphic novel are short comic interludes – brief episodes that provide some humor and back story to the events unfolding in the main storyline. For a franchise that is not necessarily known for its humor or romance, Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle delivers both in spades.

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If you want to be a part of this amazing graphic novel before it launches on February 14th, 2015, here’s how:

 

More next time!

ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

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Ken Masters

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Ken Masters should divorce his wife Eliza, leave her and their son Mel, leave the Master’s family billions, and dedicate himself to wandering the world and becoming a better fighter.

So… how did that statement hit you?

It’s just something we’ve been thinking about lately. There are people in fan forums who shun the idea of Ryu hooking up with a woman and want Ryu to continue wandering alone, continue to better himself as a fighter, without any thoughts of marriage and a family.  But it’s interesting fans don’t put the same pressure on Ken. Isn’t Ken supposed to be the one to take down Ryu if Ryu ever surrenders to the Satsui No Hadou? And yet, Ken has a wife and family while Ryu is out there getting better and better with each fight. If anyone should be training their ass off, it should be Ken, right? Why have we not seen the above statement or something like it more often in fan forums? Doesn’t Ken have a bigger responsibility to be the better fighter of the two?

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You are the big brother now!

 

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Ken sure is lucky CAPCOM decided to have Gouken return from the dead and seal the Satsui No Hadou from Ryu in Street Fighter IV.

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He is luckier still that CAPCOM makes no mention of Satsui No Hadou or Evil Ryu in Street Fighter III.

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Now Ken can enjoy his family without having to worry about having to fight his best friend to the death.

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And maybe now Ryu can have a wife too…

More next time!

 

ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

 

 

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Tired of Limbo…

I’ve written at length about my reasons for producing this book, but I realise there is one more: Batman. A few years ago, I purchased and read the graphic novels Batman: Hush and later Batman: Heart of Hush. I won’t spoil their stories here, but in both books, Batman and Catwoman come as close as they ever will  to becoming an official couple in the DC Universe.  Oh sure, somewhere out there there is this…

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But I don’t know where it comes from, and I just know in my gut by the words in the panel it’s some kind of Scarecrow induced hallucination. This is not how a proper Batman/Catwoman wedding would go down. This is how most people have a wedding and Batman and Catwoman are not, nor will they ever be, most people.

But I digress. What really ticked me off was this page from Batman: Hush.

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In the final scene Batman and Catwoman meet. He continues to mistrust her and cannot be sure that she is not more aware of the plot than she admits. While trying to console him, Catwoman inadvertently tells him to “hush” seconds before trying to kiss him, provoking a fierce reaction from Batman that compels her to end the relationship. Before leaving, she says that she does not care if their relationship started out as a “spell”. It works because of who they are, and someday he will learn to trust that. Batman thinks that it may “someday” be possible.

No it’s not, and it never will be.

After I read this final exchange in Batman:Hush, a wave of tiredness washed over me. I looked back on all the Batman books I’ve read over two decades and realised that no matter how much I hoped, Batman and Catwoman would never be together. I wasn’t really able to articulate why until Tony Blackmore wrote:

In all genres of fandom, there is a constant tension between desires of the fans and the interests of the producers. The fans yearn for what they see as the natural ending of the story. The producers, on the other hand, never want it to end as that would kill off the goose that lays the golden egg. The tension must always be maintained—and when you run out of stream, just reboot, but never complete.

And the people at Extra Credits said:

But secretly, often in a way not countenanced by our society, we’d rather not let these fictional characters go, we’d rather not put away the joys of our youth. Secretly, or hopefully not so secretly, we still hold a fondness for these characters we loved when life was simpler, smaller. And so we wish they could come with us, grow with us, be something relevant to us even as we change.

And I finally discovered the truth about shipping:

As our generation that continues to love its fictional characters from its childhood ages and matures, the shippers among us want to update these characters, make them more relevant to who we are now, and examine love, sex, and marriage through them. Shippers want to keep imagining in their favourite characters’ universes, but not as they did when they were younger. Shippers want to imagine in these universes as the young or full adults the shippers have become. We start to deal with love, sex, and marriage and we want our favourite characters to deal with these things too.

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But wait, Peter Parker was married to Mary Jane from 1987-2007, and Spidey had some great stories during that time… Nuts. They undid that too.

Sorry, digressing again.

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What it comes down to is Batman: Hush made me realise that I was getting older while the lives of my favourite comic book characters, for all their years of stories, were standing still. And that they are always going to stand still, that’s part of why we love them and what keeps them marketable (in some companies’ minds at least). But I was so invested in the Batman:Hush story and Batman and Catwoman’s interaction in that story, that my hope for the two characters getting together officially finally broke under the strain.

So, this begs the question why I didn’t do a Batman/Catwoman graphic novel project.  Well, because there are stories out there where they do get together, and they are done well enough. I don’t think I could do any better. Besides, there are a ton of Batman fan projects out there.

But for Ryu and Chun-Li, I decided to produce the story myself,  because the “get together” story has never been done right for them for the English speaking world, and I want to witness the world’s reaction to it! And… because my life isn’t standing still. The clock is ticking for me…for all of us. So, if there is something I want, I’d better go get it, or make it myself.

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And speaking of clocks…as I write this, there are only 103 days until Valentine’s Day 2015 and the launch of our book. If you want to have your name and/or art inside it and be part of it, you had better get to it. Every name gives us a better chance of CAPCOM taking us seriously. Here’s how:

More next time!

ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

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Out of ideas…kinda

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Before I started to produce Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle, I was overflowing with Ryu/Chun-Li ideas, so much so that these ideas pushed me ever onward to make those ideas real and this book thicker. But now with so many of my Ryu/Chun-Li art ideas having become reality, as artists approach us wanting to help us do more, I find myself struggling to come up with more ideas. Oh sure, I can come up with a new Ryu/Chun-Li idea for our current book with a little help. I brainstormed today with my co-writers, and I managed to get an idea for the latest mini-comic about to start production. And the sequel for this book, provided the fans want it, and are willing to support it,  is ready to go in to production. But the days of me coming up with a new Ryu/Chun-Li idea lickety-split, are over. I really need some time or some help now to come up with something more that is worth putting in the current book. And you know what? That’s just…

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Why? Because it means all my dreams for Ryu and Chun-Li, as far as the content of this book goes, have become a reality. I am sated.

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A few more months and I’ll finally be able to move on. I wonder what will be next.

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Soul Games

There are games you like. There are games you love. There are games that you can take or leave. There are games you would not touch with a forty-foot joystick. And then there are games that resonate with your very soul. For me, Street Fighter is one of the latter.

But there is one other. One that came…before.

It was a Saturday morning in 1980. I was up at 5:00 A.M. as usual to get my hands on the TV remote and thus control over my cartoon-watching destiny for the day. You see, I have a younger brother and the unspoken rule between us then was whoever got the TV remote first controlled Saturday morning. I held the remote tightly under my quilt like a knight would grip his sword, never letting it go, even for a second.

I remember it was getting close to 6:00 A.M. I was waiting for one of my favorite cartoons to start. But just before it did, I saw this on my TV:

 

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IN THE NEWS was a series of two-minute televised video segments that summarized topical news stories for children and pre-teens. The segments were broadcast on Saturday mornings on the CBS television network from 1971 until 1986 between animated cartoon programs. And they annoyed me. I mean, who cared about current events when there were cartoons to be watched? As the segment was about to start, I went through my Saturday morning mental checklist : Hungry? No. Need a toilet break? No. Comfortably wrapped like a cinnamon bun in my quilt? Yes. I still have the remote? Yes. Satisfied, I decided to stay in my seat in my mother’s armchair and tolerate the IN THE NEWS segment. And that was when I saw him for the very first time.

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The title of the segment was “Cartoon Video Games” or something like that. It showed this dorky but determined-looking knight running down a stone hallway on the screen of a large 1980′s film editing machine. The segment did not give any names and, even if it had, I was too stunned by what I saw to listen well. When the segment finished I was left feeling horribly unsatisfied. It was the first time in my life I wished the news was longer. Was it a movie? Was it a game? I did not know what to make of it. All I knew was if I understood the news segment correctly, two worlds that I had come to love, video games and cartoons, were about to mix, and I had no more than a razor thin slice of info on the event. I was in fanboy agony.

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Time went on and my agony faded, but I never forgot the image of that dorky looking knight. There was something about him. He was not your typical animated knight: a handsome prince charming with a killer smile and a great singing voice. This dorky knight was the everyman. The look in his eyes said, “I am the most daring knight there is because I am too clueless to realize the odds are completely against me.” And he gave me a sense that for him to be as old as he looked, dame fortune must have held him tightly to her bosom, maybe even let him see her naked once or twice.

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It was not until a couple of years later, in 1983, when I saw a teaser commercial for an upcoming episode of  THAT’S INCREDIBLE, that I would see the dorky knight once again. But this time, I would hear a name: DRAGON’S LAIR!

When that commercial ended, I was left with but one goal in life: to see that show. I had watched THAT’S INCREDIBLE before. It was one of the shows in my family’s regular weekly TV line-up then, but never would it hold more significance in my life than at that time. When the day and time to see the episode finally arrived, I was on edge because my father had the remote and was a bit of a channel surfer. It was not that he would surf in the middle of a show, but he did do it during commercials and I wasn’t in the mood to take any chance where I might even miss even a microsecond of the Dragon’s Lair segment. I watched him like a hungry dragon until the segment began.

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The segment came and went. It is fuzzy in my memory now. I remember seeing previews of the Dragon’s Lair stages–the most vivid of which was “Boulder Trench” and its colored balls. I heard the names Dirk the Daring and Princess Daphne for the first time. I cannot remember exactly, but I think Rick Dyer, the man who came up with the game concept, or perhaps Don Bluth the head animator, was on set showing off the game. I do remember them revealing move sequences for the game too, but not which ones.

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It would be some time before I would finally find the game and play it. It was an evening. I was at the 7-11 convenience store near my home, with my mother and brother. I saw the game in the back corner of the store. Sigh. Remember when convenience stores had arcade games in them? I begged my mother to let me play it despite the game’s 50 cent price. This was an outrageous amount on money since every other game was only a quarter. But since the game had a $4300 American price tag, the arcade operators had to make their money back somehow. Heck, I remember running into Dragon’s Lair machines that cost a dollar to play. Anyway, my mom let me play and I lost my three lives so fast, I saw more of Dirk’s skeleton than the actual game. In the months to come until the 7-11 changed its games, I played Dragon’s Lair a few more times with half of my meager one-dollar allowance and sometimes with five dollars more from my grandparents. But the fifty cent to one dollar price kept me watching the game attraction screen more than actually playing.

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It was not until I encountered the game again in an arcade while on vacation, I realized the truth about Dragon’s Lair. It was very much a spectator’s game. Until a player mastered every move for every animated sequence, he was under too much pressure to enjoy said sequences. Sure, he got the euphoric rush and glory for beating the game, but usually the player was too worried about keeping Dirk alive to enjoy the Bluth studio’s amazing laser disc graphics, even the amazing Princess Daphne. However, everyone around the player watching him play was having a ball. For the spectators, of which there were often many, it was like watching an awesome animated movie. I found this to be particularly true when I finally played Dragon’s Lair II in arcades six years later.

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That said, it was very much this inability for the player to relax during the game that made it so memorable. I mean let’s face it, after the player completed around twenty-eight out of a possible thirty-seven sequences (some of which were the same sequences but played in reverse), Dirk finally reached the dragon’s lair. Upon hearing the sexy-voiced details from Daphne on how to defeat the dragon–get the magic sword, slay the dragon, and get the key to break Daphne out of her prison–the player soon realised doing these things were not easy feats! This difficulty of the game, combined with the excitement of actually getting to the dragon’s lair stage, and dealing with the stress of the huge crowd of kids surrounding the machine to watch, was a lot of pressure for a player. Most people can still remember the excitement of seeing someone save the princess for the first time. I remember shouting and cheering with the other spectators around me. I even remember slapping the player on the back. It was one of those rare moments where everyone in the arcade suddenly became friends–fellow warriors who had just traveled together on an incredible quest and emerged battered, but ultimately victorious.

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On a consumer level, the Dragon’s Lair frenzy would create a whole line of products, including lunch boxes, clothing, a board game. It even had a fan club. I never owned any of the products even though I really wanted the Dragon’s Lair board game–sigh. But that doesn’t mean I loved the game any less. Hey, did you know Dragon’s Lair, along with Pac-Man, and Space Invaders, is one of three arcade machines at the Smithsonian?

Z_BoardGamess_MB_Dragon'sLair

Man! I really wanted one of these Dragon’s Lair board games.

Lucky for me, Dirk the Daring soon made his way to saving Princess Daphne every Saturday morning on a comedy-adventure cartoon show. The series lasted for one season, and finally gave the kids what they wanted, more animated footage of Dirk in action. Sadly, Don Bluth and his studio had absolutely nothing to do with the series’ production.

Thirteen half-hour episodes were produced in 1984. The show was generally run of the mill, but boasted an unusual feature: to keep the show in the spirit of the game, before each commercial break a narrator would ask what the viewer would do to solve the problem facing Dirk and provide three options. After the commercial break, the outcomes of the various choices were shown, two usually resulting in Dirk’s death, and the remaining choice being the correct one. However, more often then not, all the choices given to the viewer were bad ones and an option not provided, but revealed after the commercial break, was the solution. I guess the show’s writers just loved killing off Dirk. I mean how often did you get to write and see a character killed in a Saturday morning cartoon?  But then, the death sequences were part of the game’s fun, so why not the show too?

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I watched the Dragon’s Lair animated series religiously and hoped it would get another season. It never did. However, this show did leave its mark on the world of Dragon’s Lair in that it gave the originally nameless fire-breathing dragon a name: Singe–a name that stands to this day.

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What can I say? Dragon’s Lair is in my soul. Is it because Dragon’s Lair is both a carton and a video game: a match made in heaven just like Dirk and Daphne? Probably. To be honest, despite all my words here, I can’t really explain it. But I love the game and that’s why I write this now: to honour it.

And that’s why had this picture drawn too.

http://ninjaspartankx5.deviantart.com/

Commission - Cauples

My Past: Dirk and Daphne

My Present: Ryu and Chun-Li

My Future: Kal and Knites

It’s so great to make all my years of gaming count for something.

DeviantSF

More next time!

ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

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