A couple beers in and my stomach full I decide the best way to kill some time in evening-clothes Kobe is to head to the arcade I frequent, they got Street Fighter III up on the second floor and it's fifty yen a play. It's one of the most reliable bets in town when I'm looking to obliterate some minutes since the machines are set easy and my coin can roll me through a lot of dudes. In 3rd Strike I main Chun-Li, a powerhouse with her second super technique that does incredible thigh-based damage and takes hardly a wag of her tail to charge. But eventually I finish, downed to Urien I think, and I head back to the ground floor to survey my options.
I see a poster saying that up on the fourth floor, a foreign bar called Iznt, tonight's something styled after "chiptune night," and there's a guest performer who refers to himself only as Junk. I head up there and grab a draught, not helping but notice that on the main screen is a game of Battletoads & Double Dragon, a title that doesn't seem so old to me because it came out in 1993, and 1993 is only ten years ago here in 2003, a time my mind doesn't think so long ago because I was in college then, even though now it's almost 2013, which makes this thing just about twenty years old and holy shit.
The trick of the evening is sort of chiptune, sort of video, performance and sound, but regardless of what's going on I consider the currency these music-makers of today are dealing in, and it's nostalgia for the people like us, and I wonder how long before me it's been going on with whatever kind of band and whatever kind of music, and maybe like, in 2033, will they be playing the soundtrack from Angry Birds and people will be like "oh, ho ho?" I think not. What for? It's one of those cultural milestones, and I can't help but shake that fewer of them exist as we push forward here towards our ends, no Seinfelds or Friends or Super Mario Bros. to share as a culture, now fragmented, on demand, as we like.
I take the tunes in but something feels wrong about it, a musician feedback looping the notes of my childhood to me, and yet I start to get mad when he diverges from it. At first he changes from directly video-game-inspired tracks to vaguely chippy tunes, and then we're full-sail into something else entirely, bumpin' tracks for the trendy young ladies and guys in this place, and I wonder, where the hell are the video game songs man? I figure, this is his bridge, this is his in, the way to grab us, and with each looped sample of "YOGA" or "YOU WIN" I can't fault him for it, this is what I want, this is what I remember.
When he's done a friend of mine and I head back down to the second floor for a round of 3rd Strike, and he says you know, all I know is Street Fighter II, and I remember the days when that was all you needed to know, when that was all anyone needed to know.