The first rule of Street Fighter Club is: you do not talk about Street Fighter Club.
In spite of that ominous rule, we have no choice but to talk about Capcom's incredibly well-orchestrated community event last Friday night. It's rare to see a games company reach out to the fans with early access to its most anticipated games. It's even rarer to see a games company conduct a PR event in a location like this: a converted bodega in the middle of Brooklyn.
We were told that some of the higher-ups at Capcom were uncomfortable with the location, and for good reason too. The neighborhood wasn't "safe" nor "clean," being one of the few neighborhoods in NYC that hasn't been hit by rapidly spreading gentrification. Guys in suits would never come here. And that's exactly what this event was about: reaching out to real fans (who, as you know, don't wear suits).
It took some time, but the 300+ fans waiting outside eventually made their way in. Should we have been surprised that it actually looked like a functional store inside? There were items scattered around, appearing to be on sale. Upon closer inspection, the labels showed off some puns that would've made Ludwig proud. The "Sonic Broom?" One, please.
After the "initiation process," we were escorted into the back area of the bodega, converted into a nightclub of sorts. There, a few Xbox 360 systems with Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix were almost able to lure people away from the free pizza and soda further down the hall. Almost. Getting a slice required tactics from another Capcom game: Dead Rising.
Pizza and SSFIITHDR were cool, but the main event awaited fans downstairs, in the slightly dark, slightly damp basement. Here, fans were crowding around Street Fighter IV, trying to prove their dominance. Unfortunately, many ambitions were shot down by a terrifyingly skilled Sakura player.
While a small handful of media appeared from other outlets, it was clear this event was for the fans. While waiting in line to enter, I got to hear genuine excitement from the people around me -- a refreshing change from the group of jaded video game journalists that would usually attend these kind of events. Friday night proved to us that, unlike most other gaming companies, Capcom actually deserves the love its fans show them.
[Images via Capcom-unity]