My love for fighting games was born in Pathmark, Staten Island (it didn’t look that nice back then). The shops inside always had the newest cabs. I’d beg my mom to go play while she shopped/waited on line. A good bit of the mini shops inside the Pathmark had cabs. A lot of shops and bodegas throughout Staten Island had random cabs at the time, so it wasn’t out of the ordinary to see them. The Pathmark cabs were dope tho. It’s where I 1st played Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Alpha, and DARKSTALKERS!
I remember clearly the 1st time I saw the original Darkstalkers cab in one of the shops. I heard the noises and music from the machine before I actually saw it. Seeing the characters move around for just a few seconds instantly captivated me. At that time I wasn’t allowed to stay by the cabs by myself yet, so I had to walk around with my mom while she shopped for groceries. The wait felt like eternity! I finally got to play while she was on the cash out line. I don’t remember if the line was long or not, but playing it that 1st time felt like time stopped. I was hooked, and kept thinking about it long after leaving.
Whenever I went back to those shops and tried the new games, I would also hear a bunch of Wu Tang songs playing from the shops. It became the soundtrack to my fighting game experience. To this day, whenever I play Vampire Savior, I automatically hear a random track off the 36 Chambers album play in my head. When you walked through the main entrance to that Pathmark, you had to walk by a few of the shops, so you could hear Wu Tang playing and noise from the cabs. It always felt like my mom was hurrying my brother and I along as to not annoy her to play. She always made sure to give us a chance to play when she could, even though she was always busy, and I appreciate that greatly and love her so much! I still can’t believe how on point she was for surprising us with Street Fighter Alpha on playstation as an Easter present. Like wut!? For Easter?!!? We were so hyped. Then on one of my birthdays she got me Vampire Savior on playstation! I was so shocked. When I started it up, I quickly realised it’s a bad port :((( but I still played that game a ton. I wouldn’t be surprised if the disc turned floppy and transparent.
My art style and choices are heavily influenced by the Darkstalkers series. Vampire Savior is my all time favorite fighting game and possibly my favorite game, for multiple reasons that I can go on about forever. I owe a lot to that Pathmark and my Staten Island childhood upbringing. Also my awesome, awesome, awesome mom. Darkstalkers reminds me of the 90s, SI, and my mom.