Have You Played… Tekken?

have-you-played-tekken

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

My first encounter with the angry polygons of Tekken was on a sticky arcade cabinet in a Catalonian holiday resort. I liked this holiday. There was a massive pool, where a bigger boy once dunked me and held my head under the water. “The fool,” I thought, “Doesn’t he know I’m an Iron Fist champion?”

Okay, I didn’t think that. I probably just thought: “Waaaahhhhh!” But there was solace in the nearby arcade, which I think was just a sweet shop with a ping pong table and a single Tekken 2 machine. My brother and I would clutch the arcade sticks and pop our precious pesetas into the money slot. I don’t remember what fighters we chose, what moves we favoured, or who else came to challenge us. Probably nobody. There was a pool.

Years later, I am playing Tekken 7. There’s a hefty gap in my knowledge of this 3D fighting game, having abandoned it after Tekken Tag Tournament. But the joy of it has returned. The punches are meaty, the dodging is swift and the fighters are ridiculous – protective pandas, posh French dancers, ninja cyborgs. One of them is a demon-possessed grandson of a crimelord, sporting an unfortunate tribal tattoo. This is the result of being brought into the foul world of videogames in the late nineties. Unlike Mario, Jin Kazama has never had his tattoo removed. His likes, according to the Tekken Wiki, include: “flames”.

Today I play as Miguel. An angry ex-bullfighter who can somehow go toe-to-toe with martial arts professionals and demonic businessmen even though he has no formal training. He’s not a boxer, or a wrestler, or a Taekwondo champion. He’s just really, really annoyed. If my life was a movie (straight-to-DVD) you’d now get a scene in which I punch and kick and grab at my online opponent, veins popping in my forehead. Then, a flash. A glimpse of a sad, wet face. A youngster in a pool. Another flash. A kid pushing buttons, furiously. The smell of chlorine. You can smell things in this film. Then back to the present day – “KO!” I have defeated my opponent. I put down my arcade stick and breathe out. The fury of the dunk still burns.

Anyway, Tekken. They’re good games.

12 Comments

Top comments

  1. jcvandan says:

    I actually have Jin Kazamas unfortunate 90's tribal tattoo writ in large on my upper left arm and this just made me lol. Foolish 18 year old I was, I thought this made me a badass. Now as a 32 year old father of one with a respectable profession it certainly does not. Thankfully though my beer belly means I don't often remove my shirt 👍
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    Drib says:

    geeettttt dunked on!

    But seriously, I remember the first tekken looking amazing. I’m sure it doesn’t these days, but uh, you know, at the time.

    • E_FD says:

      I remember the original Toshinden on the Playstation looking mindblowingly gorgeous. Really, that whole first generation of 32-bit systems and their fancy polygon graphics felt like such a meteoric leap in gaming aesthetics at the time.

      Looking back, they’re a hell of a lot uglier and blander than the sprite artwork in plenty of later-day SNES/Genesis games.

    • welverin says:

      I thought it looked awful at the time.

  2. Massenstein says:

    My first tekken moment was in a gas station during a school trip somewhere. On my first coin I had no idea what I was doing and got pulped. On the second coin I still had no idea what I was doing, yet I somehow did the right things and was doing remarkably well. Kids from my school and total strangers were gathering around, probably more to marvel at the game itself than my lucky button-mashing, but they cheered me on and it felt pretty nice! :)

  3. Guran says:

    Heihachi Mishima WINS! *uuuuuyya*

  4. quasiotter says:

    I love Tekken! King is one of the sexiest characters in videogames for me, especially when he’s getting beaten up. Um…

  5. HiroTheProtagonist says:

    Eddie Gordo and Marshal Law mains, I never actually learned to play, just how to spam backflip kicks until my friends gave up.

  6. jcvandan says:

    I actually have Jin Kazamas unfortunate 90’s tribal tattoo writ in large on my upper left arm and this just made me lol. Foolish 18 year old I was, I thought this made me a badass. Now as a 32 year old father of one with a respectable profession it certainly does not. Thankfully though my beer belly means I don’t often remove my shirt 👍

    • welverin says:

      So beer bellies can be a good thing!

      Of course that’s nothing compared to people with face tattoos, what were they thinking?

  7. Spacewalk says:

    My first Tekken experience was the machine at the video store. It left me wanting for Virtua Fighter.

    • Throwback says:

      T7 still gives me that feeling.

      ‘Oh, 90% of my moves shouldn’t be used? Great.’

      • Beefenstein says:

        They don’t provide those moves for you to just go ahead and use them you mad man.