SOUTH HADLEY FALLS, MA—Area resident Troy Zuniga, 27, is troubled by the idea of his ex-girlfriend Chrissy Baker playing Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution with someone new, Zuniga reported Tuesday.
"Chrissy's probably at her new boyfriend's place playing VF4 right at this very minute," said Zuniga, responding to friends' inquiries about his unwillingness to play what was once his favorite game. "I think about her sitting in front of the television, flexing her fingers in that way she does when she's gearing up to fight, and I can barely take it."
"It's just really hard," said Zuniga, staring down at the Virtua Fighter 4 case in his hands. "Sorry."
Zuniga said his desire to play the popular Sega fighting game has been nonexistent ever since a friend sighted Baker with an unidentified male in a video-rental store Saturday.
"I know they went to Village Video to rent games," Zuniga said. "That was always one of our favorite things to do on the weekend—just lie around the house together and play video games. And, well, then we'd... I don't want to talk about this anymore."
Zuniga and Baker played PlayStation2 together for almost a year, and had spent the most time with Virtua Fighter 4 in the weeks leading up to their Oct. 3 breakup.
"Virtua Fighter was our game," Zuniga said. "Sometimes, we'd trade off the controller and work our way through the levels. We had our own special, shared save file. We made such a great team. But sometimes we'd go at each other in two-person mode."
"I wonder if she's doing that with that other guy," Zuniga said. "That would be like an infamously impossible-to-pull-off, 70-point, block-forward, forward, punch-plus-kick-to-jump-kick 'stomach-crumpler' combo-blow to the heart."
In spite of the game's great character-customization options and awesome comprehensive training mode, Zuniga said he may never play Virtua Fighter again.
"Too many memories," Zuniga said. "C-Bake and I worked so long and hard to learn all the combos and earn the quest objects. If it weren't for her, I never would've stuck with the game long enough to get past that battle with Dural. But then, if it weren't for me, she probably wouldn't have ever learned Lei Fei's intricate stances—so she could parade them around in front of what's-his-name."
Zuniga paused to regain his composure.
"We stayed up until dawn once, making out and learning the attack reversal system," Zuniga said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me—but obviously not for her. I guess she's pulled the ultimate reversal on me now."
Zuniga, who doesn't plan to begin dating again any time soon, said he was surprised that Baker began to see other people so soon after their breakup.
"I can't imagine sharing those moments with someone else," Zuniga said. "Yet she's already out there playing as Pai Chan, the petite Ensei-Ken dancer, with someone new. It kills me to think of Chrissy directing that character's smug little grin at some other guy's character after she completes an acrobatic, double-leg-lock somersault throw."
According to those close to Zuniga, Virtua Fighter 4 is not the only game to spark his jealousy.
"Like a lot of other couples, Troy and Chrissy had a Grand Theft Auto thing," Zuniga's roommate Terry Nguyen said. "They also had some running argument about whether or not NHL 2003 was the best hockey game ever—not that Chrissy cared about hockey. It was just an excuse for them to get into a tickle fight."
"It's amazing that he can play any games at all anymore," Nguyen added.
Zuniga's friend Zoe Flagler said she believes that he will pull out of his depression.
"This will pass," Flagler said. "True, it's going to take some time for him to rid his memory card of the scores saved under her name. You know, he can't just erase what they had together, because if he did that, he'd lose his characters' identities, too. But in the end, Troy is better off without Chrissy. She used to control him, just like she controlled Pai Chan."
Zuniga, however, said he remains unsure of his prospects for recovery.
"There will never be another Chrissy," Zuniga said. "And there will never be another game as great as Virtua Fighter 4. That game was one in a million."