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Hero Worship Never Dies

Given the opportunity to dispose of a little extra income (as I do each pay period, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend) I was presented with a chose. Either God of War: Chains of Olympus or SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 would be added to my fledgling PSP collection. One of these games couldn't have paid to stay off the airwaves in the months before its release, the other I would never have known about had I not been running searches for King of Fighters a long time ago.

Now, it's not that I have anything against God of War, or Cliff Bleszinski himself. On the contrary, I think the man's a genius and the screenshots of the PS2 epic were mind-blowing. But I have this fear of the unknown, and this almost irrational anxiety that I will not like the game once I pick it up. Then I have to get back on the bus that runs once an hour and haggle with the brand-new adults at Wal-Mart who will spend valuable minutes trying to convince me of the titles greatness. I don't need the hassle.

But most of of the games on SNK Classics....I've played all of those. Plus it's ten dollars cheaper.
I bought this game for two reasons. One, it contained, in all its jaggy camera-panning glory, Art of Fighting. This game was the first to teach me about great foretelling. It explains the plot in ten seconds without saying a word. You see a picture of two men, with a beautiful young girl in the center. The picture suddenly cracks, and the girl fades to black. She's gone, those two remain, and just like that, you know what you're getting into. The game itself is larger than life and doesn't make up for the mediocre gameplay as well as it used too.

The other reason was King of Fighters 94, the first in the series and featuring, although not starring, my lifelong hero, Terry Bogard.
So ingrained into my psyche was this character once that I practically shaped my entire personality around him. From the hat and gloves to the "Okay!" taunts I used to do, I admired everything about this guy. Now, the hat and gloves may be gone, and the blue jacket with the star on it hangs honorably in my closet, but the admiration hasn't diminished.

Even more so than the one I have with Street Fighter 2's Ryu, Terry and I have always had this understanding. I even approximate the motion on the PSP's clunky D-Pad, and Terry will know what I'm doing. Strategies that worked thirteen years ago work just as well now. The understanding Terry and I have, the one that has eluded Ryu and I in Street Fighter Alpha 3, propels the two of us right through the game, on its easy setting, up until the last boss, who kicks the ever-loving shit out of us. I don't remember Rugal being that tough.

I turn off the PSP and my mind drifts back to when I would walk down the hill from my house, as a little kid. My mother would be on the porch, watching me go. As I would get to the bottom of the hill, I would remove my hat and hold it the same way Terry would, as if throwing it. She would always wave back. I think she understood the obsession, which was why she nurtured it.

I think about where I am now, laying in bed and preparing to post this, having worked six of what will be twenty-one consecutive days without a break. Instead of a hat, it's my index finger from my forehead in the same manner.

"Okay."

Hero worship never dies.

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