Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shades of Resonance: Fond Reminiscence - Memory Log #4

Street Smart

Street Smart, at least in the northeast tri-state area, was a prolific game, showing up in all the usual neighborhood arcades and those in Atlantic City. It was one of those arcade games I felt obligated to pop a quarter into any time I saw it. It was also the first of its kind that I played--a game that mixed together elements of fighters and beat-'em-ups to create an intense, smooth-moving fighting game. I found it visually pleasing with its assortment of backdrops (cities, urban settings, mountain ranges, and bars, among others) and lively onlookers, who seemed to be taking time out of work to come cheer on some senseless violence; though, they were at least polite enough to quiet down while the losing combatant was picked up via ambulance and taken to the SNK Hospital. Otherwise, "Yay! Break his legs!"


The protagonist was your stereotypical karate guy (and possible ripoff of Street Fighter's Ryu) participating in a fighting championship and attempting to beat all comers to win the grand prize of scantily clad women whose only lot in life was to worship him. The field consisted of progressively swifter martial artists and increasingly--ridiculously--brawny fighters, the last of which resembled The Incredible Hulk. Of all things, I'll never forget that green-colored terror or the repeated thwompings he laid on me. I also won't forget the goofy "Oh yeah!"s the hero would blurt out after attaining victory, which made him seem worthy of all the beatdowns in between.


It was one of a only a few arcade games that I could beat on my own, but I wasn't accomplishing as much on skill alone; it was more a matter of brute-forcing my way through it thanks to the large supply of quarters usually supplied by my father, who wanted me to stay busy while he attended to business and made his usual calls. I had better luck when I could get a friend to join me; the two-player mode allowed us to team up to battle pairs of fighters (the second player controlling an American-based patriotic fighter), which made for some interesting, sometimes-scary combos of giants and martial artists. There was nothing quite like those times when I could stand beside a friend and furiously pound away at an arcade machine to attain a victory that seemed way more important than it probably was. 

Oh, the simple times.


I've since had a chance to revisit Street Smart in recent years thanks to MAME, and it doesn't quite hold up to how I remember it. That is, I wouldn't put it in my top tier of arcade titles that consists of all those games I also routinely replayed (Rolling Thunder, WWF Superstars, etc.). I'm not saying as much to bash it, nor would I; instead, I'll continue to profress that certain games existed not to reinvent the wheel or change the gaming world but merely to fill a void or serve a very focused purpose, and Street Smart did just that, providing a quick fix and the guarantee of an always-fun coin-op experience in just about any arcade we visited.


I've since had a chance to revisit Street Smart in recent years thanks to MAME, and it doesn't quite hold up to how I remember it. That is, I wouldn't put it in my top tier of arcade titles that consists of all those games I also routinely replayed (Rolling Thunder, WWF Superstars, etc.). I'm not saying as much to bash it, nor would I; instead, I'll continue to profress that certain games existed not to reinvent the wheel or change the gaming world but merely to fill a void or serve a very focused purpose, and Street Smart did just that, providing a quick fix and the guarantee of an always-fun coin-op experience in just about any arcade we visited.

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