In 1995 or 1996, the little Soulmaster was over at his uncle's house, it was probably when my mom had somewhere to go and left me to sleep over. And back then, let me tell ya, my cousin was the coolest person alive. I thought he was just awesome. So the preschool-age Soulmaster goes up to their playroom, and what's he find attached to the TV? This strange-lookin' black box-like thing, with two things attached to it that had buttons on 'em. Now, this was before the Soulmaster was a gamer yet, so there was no way in Hell that he coulda known that this mysterious box was a Sega Genesis. At least not until he read the symbols and shit on it. There was a box underneath the thing, full of game cartridges. I don't know how I got to see what all these cartridges were: either I asked my cousin, or just saw him playing it a little later, but either way it ended up happening. Most of them were sports games: he was into sports, the Genesis had a huge sports library, it was a natural fit. But I've never exactly enjoyed sports; the only video game I ever liked playing off sports iconography was an independently developed Japanese-style RPG that I played in 2010. So the sports games meant nothing to me. What DID however mean something to me was a game with a dragon-like icon on the front of the cartridge. Or, two of those games, I should say. The Soulmaster played Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II that day, and they were wonderful.
But that wasn't the whole story. See, while I may have liked those two games, I wasn't a devoted gamer just yet. It wasn't until the day I went into an arcade after seeing what was probably a Disney movie that I really knew what it was all about, when I went into the arcade and saw the dragon logo again, this time as Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Did I play it? You bet, I pestered my dad for a quarter and dropped it in. Did I suck at it? Oh HELL YES I sucked at it. But I was hooked. I knew what a video game was, and where to find them. I knew what to ask Santa Claus for when Christmas rolled around. I didn't know where these games would take me, I didn't know a damn thing about any of 'em... But I knew I loved every single fighting game in the back of that arcade. Yes, even Tekken, which in later years I wouldn't like nearly as much. And as I grew up, I came to love other games too, just as much, or even more.