Tatsunoko vs. Capcom – Time to Get Pringles?

I don’t think I’ve ever been torn about a game like I have been for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. With this game, I can put together a fairly solid case for why I don’t want it. I’m not a “Versus” series style of fighting game player. My only experience with this style of fighting game was with the XBOX Live release of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. After years of wanting to test my chops in one of the most popular fighting games of all-time, I finally came to the conclusion that I’m awful at that style of game. I end up mindlessly mashing buttons and randomly doing traditional Street Fighter special move command inputs and hoping for the best. It’s cool to see all the flashy action on screen, but I didn’t find the fighting satisfying enough for me to commit to getting better. My only experience online with Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was an absolute disaster, where I didn’t win a match and at times, didn’t connect a single hit on my opponent.

The game is also a Wii-only exclusive, a platform that I hardly play and kind of despise for abandoning me as a core gamer. If I were to buy a fighting game, I would much rather play it on my XBOX 360, which gives me the benefit of HD graphics, achievement points and superior XBOX Live service.

One other reason I’m gun-shy on purchasing Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is that Super Street Fighter IV is just around the corner. If I get into Super Street Fighter IV like I did the original, then I won’t be playing any other fighting games for the rest of the year.

To all logical people, the debate should end right there. Yet, since the moment this game came into existence, I’ve wanted it. Part of it is just an irrational urge to have it. But I have other personal and altruistic reasons for wanting it, too. Altruism never is involved in my video game buying thought process, so this particular case is very weird to me.

For one, the critics say this game is great. It features solid gameplay, great graphics and capable online play. They also say the game is easy to get into. I felt burned last time people told me that Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was easy when I interpreted it as a weirdly complicated and difficult fighting game to follow. However, for some reason I’m starting to believe that my experience with MvC 2 wouldn’t be the same with TvC. Maybe it’s just the hype getting to me. If the game is as awesome as they say it is and I enjoy it then maybe it’s well worth my hard-earned money.

So where does altruism fit into this? Well, for one, this game shouldn’t have come over to North America in the first place. With over 12 different companies having rights to the Tatsunoko characters, it seemed like this game would never come in North America due to the legal nightmare it would have been to make a western version a reality. Thanks to fan pressure and probably some acts from a higher power from above, we’re finally get the chance to get the game on our own.

On top of that, this is very much a statement game from Capcom. This is in a way, a love letter to hardcore Wii gamers who don’t have that many appealing options to choose from. Heck, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is arguably the first good fighting game for a Nintendo platform since Super Street Fighter II on the Super Nintendo. As a kid who was waited for the next great fighting game to come out on a Nintendo platform after Super Street Fighter II and never got it, now could be a time to close some psychological wounds and have fun in the process.

Even beyond my own personal pain, buying this game could be my part in showing video game developers that Wii owners want hardcore games. The last few major Wii games that targed the core audience, such as Mad World, The Conduit and Dead Space: Extraction flopped hard. For all the complaining core Wii owners do about the lack of core games, we haven’t supported the core games we do get. If we don’t show game publishers that core Wii gamers will buy core Wii games, then we’ll only get the usual Mario and Zelda games along with 1,000 more crappy mini-game collections. This is a chance for me to stand up and say that I will support quality core Wii games so that companies will continue to support players like me on this system.

If there is any game I personally should stand up for, it’s this one. It’s a great fighting game on a system whose lineage hasn’t seen a good fighting game in 15 years, and if this flops, may never get another good one again. And unlike those other core Wii games I mentioned earlier, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is even more likely to fail harder than those other games, due to the small population of fighting game players and the fact that most people in North America don’t even know half of the characters in this game. Even if I pay full price for this game, I still expect it to bomb hard.

Generally, my thought process behind buying a game doesn’t run very deep. If I want it, I buy it. If I want it, but not enough to pay full price, then I’ll get it on sale. I don’t even know yet if I want this game based on my normal criteria for why I buy games. But if there was ever a time to buy a video game to support a cause – that cause being the continued support of core gamers of the Wii – maybe it’s time I plunk down some paper and show the world where my curly mustache is at.

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