Sitting down to my first round of Tekken in over a year, I'm a little concerned. As a fan of the series since Tekken 3, I've always been a solid Law or Yoshimitsu player, with both characters' 10-hit combo strings hardwired into my brain. But with my opponent sat next to me, a look of serene assurance across his face, it occurs to me that this year's Street Fighter IV addiction may have dulled my 3D fighter fundamentals. I needn't have worried. After a shaky start and some mild profanity, the Jeet Kune Do chef scraps a round-three victory with a well-timed one-inch punch. Yep, this is going to be an all-nighter for sure.
"Europe is kind of a big deal for us." Katsuhiro Harada, producer of Tekken 6, is eager to point out that this visit to London is much more than a matter of courtesy. While the latest title in Namco's esteemed 3D fighting lineage dominates Japanese arcades, more than 90 per cent of Tekken's console sales come from the West. Of these, more than half of the series' 33 million sales were made to Europeans, who were responsible for almost two thirds of Tekken 5's global sales. As far as Harada, his team and his game's autumn release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are concerned, Europe is kind of a big deal.
Peculiar bedfellows, perhaps? There was always going to be a clash somewhere in this year's Coming Attractions as we sorted our way through 12 categories, but you could argue there's more that unites fighting and strategy than divides them. Both are about trying to take maximum of advantage of your opposition's weaknesses, both reward patience, concentration and consideration, and as of Red Alert 3 both have a thing for impractical women's clothing.