X-Men: Children of the Atom Birthday “Kumite”

Up front: This entire post is a bit of a humble brag. But it’s my blog, and what is a personal blog if not something of a vanity project?

I’ve been playing Super Street Fighter II Turbo with a group of friends on Monday nights since partway through the 2020 pandemic. It’s been a pretty great way to sort of put everything else out of our minds for a couple of hours and just hang out with friends on Discord while we beat up our video game avatars using Fightcade, a multi-console emulator focused on classic arcade fighting games, that allows for online play.

I say that we’ve been playing Super Turbo, but one of the fun traditions the group has adopted is the birthday Kumite (“koo-mih-tay”), a name that I’m pretty sure was inspired by the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, Bloodsport. Basically, the birthday celebrator gets to pick a game, and take on all challengers. It’s my birthday this week, and I figured, “sure, I’ll participate in a Kumite, why not?”

Considering I’m a comic book nerd who likes old video games, my first choice was 1993’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters by Konami for the SNES. Unfortunately, there were issues getting the game to work on Fightcade, so I had to pick a new game.

Well if I couldn’t play my first comic book love, then I figured I may as well go with my second: The Uncanny X-Men!

In 1994, hot on the heels of the success of Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, Capcom released X-Men: Children of the Atom on arcades. There was a West Coast Video movie rental location near my house at the time, and they had a few arcade machines over by the video game rental section: A Neo•Geo cabinet with an ever-rotating selection of games, the original Virtua Fighter, and, of course, X-Men. My friends and I would scrounge up our change every week or so, and throw down in a few rounds of all the games. But since it was 1994-1996 when I lived in that town, that was basically the absolute zenith of the X-Men’s popularity in American culture, so that’s the game we played the most. A couple of years later, when I got a Sega Saturn, and my brother and I made sure that we bought the home port of this game. How could we not?

I never lived in Ontario, but this is apparently the only WCV location I can find images of.

As time went on, of course, Capcom released other Marvel-based fighting games, and this first effort of their is overshadowed by it’s successors: X-Men Vs. Street Fighter and the various Marvel vs. Capcom games. However, personally, I always liked the purity of Children of the Atom; It’s JUST X-Men characters, without half the roster being taken up by the game developer’s OCs (I mean, yeah, Street Fighter’s Akuma is a hidden character. But you’d never know it unless someone explicitly told you).

Anyways, this past Monday, I took on all challengers in X-Men: Children of the Atom. Now, I’m not the best fighting game player in the world, but I’m also far from the worst. My experiences in playing Street Fighter with this partiuclar group of friends every week is that I hold my own pretty well, but my actual win ratio is probably around 45-50%. And when we play games that I’m less familiar with, that can drop.

I did not defeat Sheng Long.

So it turns out that when we play a game I’m MORE familiar with? I do pretty well.

I had eight challengers for my X-Kumite. We played “First To 2” sets, in the game’s best-of-three matches. And below is my record for the night:

  • PsychoAndy (Colossus) vs. CaliScrub (Cyclops/Wolverine): 2-0 (Cali is the biggest proponent we have for Super Turbo)
  • PsychoAndy(Colossus) vs. REMA_Trumpet (Iceman): 2-0
  • PsychoAndy (Cyclops) vs. Kissy (Psylocke) (“Kee-shee”): 2-0
  • PsychoAndy (Colossus) vs. SilentHillHOA (Wolverine) (aka “Shark Fisher”) 2-0
  • PsychoAndy (Colossus) vs. _Bjorn_ (Sentinel): 2-0 (Bjorn beat me 2-0 in his own birthday Kumite the previous week, so this makes us even)
  • PsychoAndy (Colossus/Cyclops) vs. SpineShark (Spiral): 2-1 (definitely the closest set of the night!)
  • PsychoAndy (Colossus) vs. OneWholeCrouton (Sentinel): 2-0
  • PsychoAndy (Omega Red) vs. KayinNasaki (Psylocke): 2-0 (You may remember Kayin from his appearance on Other Strangeness)

So…yeah. Apparently I went undefeated. And as far as anyone could remember, this was the first Kumite where anybody had accomplished that! Who would’ve thought?

Best part is, you don’t just have to take my word for it! The entire thing was streamed live on Kayin’s Twitch Channel, and he was kind enough to clip the 34-minute event and post it to his YouTube channel. So here it is, completely unedited:

(The chat audio is a little off because of the weird delays between live play and streaming. Also, Kayin had accidentally silented himself on Twitch for the first half of it. So we occasionally react to things he said that you unfortunately can’t hear)

After this, we went back to our regularly-scheduled Monday night Super Turbo casual play, where I didn’t win a single set all night. D’oh!

This whole night was super fun, and it was a very nice confidence boost to go on such a big win streak against friends over whom I don’t normally get such decisive victories…And then immediately be put back in my place so I didn’t get a big head. Heh.

Thanks again to everybody who participated and wished me a happy birthday! I had a blast.

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