LAST REVISED ON: December 28th 2017

My Biggest Crush!
(article 26)

Street Fighter Mortal Kombat Introduction
The coin-op business today is not what it used to be. It hasn't been for over a decade now. Stand alone video arcades are now a relic of the past and are few & far between today. But there was a time when the arcades were the leading edge and the home consoles could barely keep up with them. The fighting game era of the 1990's was the last big video game boom in the arcade industry. Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat ruled the arcades and gamers just couldn't get enough.


I currently live in central Florida. But I was born & raised in South Florida. Miami was my personal playground. It was during this time that I began working in the arcade industry, and the coin-op business is still my occupation to this day. I have countless stories to tell about what it's like working with arcade games, and I have written many articles about it over the years. And no doubt, more of them will follow. But this article is a little different. It's a personal one, and it doesn't really have as much to do with an experience I had in the industry, but rather with something interesting that happened to me just before I got into the business which I have never forgotten and still to this day think very fondly of.
Blinded by the Light

This article is about a very special person that I met. Someone who had such a powerful influence on me, that I felt compelled to write about her. I tend to do that with things that struck me as extremely significant events in my life. Events that instantly affected me & immediately changed the focus of my daily thoughts as they inevitably became some of the greatest memories I hold. In this case, I'm talking about the biggest crush I ever had on any girl in my entire life. Yes, indeed, that's what she was.

So, I will preface this article by stating for the record, that this all began well before I ever met or even knew my wife. Back in the early 90's, me & my circle of close friends were very much into video games. Our weekend activities usually consisted of shootin' some hoops, cruisin' the shopping malls, and watching movies. Don't get me wrong, we liked girls, and we all very much wanted to get laid, but we had attended an all boys Jesuit catholic high school, which although it had helped us academically; it had also hindered, if not crippled us, socially.

During these early college years, the video arcades were not only still in existence, but were actually thriving during what came to be known as the fighting game boom. Street Fighter 2 was the most popular game in the country. And we loved to play it. The gaming crowd back then was nowhere near as diverse as it is today. It was very different. The now commonly found "gamer girl" simply did not exist. Girls didn't play video games! Or so it seemed.
Kendall Town & Country

It was about 10:00pm on Friday September 11, 1992. And my friends & I had just bought tickets to see a movie at the Kendall Town & Country Mall. We had some time to kill before the movie, so we walked next door to the Flippers Game Room to play some games. Little did I know, but the minute I walked through that door, my entire life changed in an instant. I was never the same again. And if you think I'm exaggerating, ask yourself this question. Here I am, 25 years later, still thinking about that very moment in time, and writing about it as well. I simply have not ever been able to get the image out of my head. It will last forever. Chun Li Plays SF2

Here was this absolutely beautiful, drop dead gorgeous girl, playing Street Fighter 2, with a long line of guys trying to beat her at the game. I immediately showed my friends, and told them that we absolutely had to play her! So I bought some tokens, ran to the back of the line, and anxiously awaited my turn. As I stood there, I just kept staring at her. I couldn't stop looking! I was admiring her beauty, observing her mannerisms, and dreaming about getting to know her. It was difficult for me to process the situation. She was something extraordinary to me. And because of that, I was instantly attracted to her.

As I slowly moved up the line, and continued to observe her, it was almost overwhelming. She had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. They were mesmerizing. And she had this amazing puffy & long flowing hair. She had a look, that for me, literally personified a goddess. I was so enamored by this girl, that by the time I finally got up to her, I had already fallen in love with her. I was so nervous, that I completely fumbled during the game. I spent more time watching her then the tv screen. I had butterflies in my stomach, my face was blushing, my hands were sweaty, my tongue was tied. The only thing I managed to mouth off to her after she defeated me was "nice game". She then smiled at me. And let me tell you, her smile alone was worth the wait! It was a very special moment for me. I was in a trance. Blinded by her beauty. And in a complete state of bliss. My friends had to practically drag me away from the arcade and pull me back to the theatre. And all I could think about during the entire 2 hour movie, was her. Nothing else mattered to me anymore. I knew then, that my obsession with her, had officially begun.
Chun Li Wins

By the time the movie ended, and I made my way back to the arcade, she was long gone. The moment had passed. The night was over. And the opportunity was lost forever. Or so it would seem. A few weeks passed, and during this time, she escalated to legendary status among me & my friends. She was officially given the name: "the street fighter chick". That's all we knew about her! So that's what she became to us. All I ever did was think about her & talk about her! So much so, that my friends became annoyed by it! They would often tell me to stop wasting my time thinking about her. That I was never going to see her again. That the chances of running into her a second time were practically impossible. Well, I flat out refused to accept that. And I must have had more faith & optimism then they did. Because some might call it luck or just a coincidence. Others might call it fate. But for me, running into her again was my destiny.
Cell Phone

Now, you have to understand the limitations during that time period in history in order to fully appreciate the difficulty of these situations. Cell phones were not yet common. Only the very important or the very wealthy had them; and certainly not teenagers! Connecting, communicating, and exchanging contact information with people was very difficult. The only way to do so was in person. You had to muster up quite a bit of courage & self confidence just to even try to ask a girl for her name & number.
Dadeland Mall

So finally one day, I went to Dadeland Mall. I was alone, without any of my friends. I usually parked by the mall entrance that was near the video arcade. And as I walked passed the game room, and peered inside, there she was! Just standing by the street fighter game. I could not believe my eyes. I immediately became anxious & nervous. But this time, I wasn't gonna let her go. No way. I wasn't leaving there without her name & finding out who she was. So I took a deep breath, pulled myself together, and I confidently approached her. I introduced myself, refreshed her memory about the night I first saw her, and proceeded with the conversation. I was able to get her name, as well as the name of her school. And I was thankful.

Acquiring this information was crucial, as it later proved to be the key to unlocking the door in the next chapter with her. But I'll get back to the story in a minute...

"...Difficult things take a long time,

Impossible things, a little longer..."

A little bit about me...

Wanting things I can't have, and dreaming of obtaining them has been a very prevalent thought process throughout the course my life. When someone tells me I can't have something, or that I will never be able to get something, it has the opposite affect on me. It not only makes me want it more, but it inspires & motivates me to acquire it; sometimes at any cost. My focus becomes razor sharp as the object becomes the center of my attention. And towards the end of the year, my passionate curiosity for yet another piece of unobtainium was firing on all four cylinders.
The Super Nova street fighter 2 street fighter 2 sf2 title screen

First described in the pages of Japanese video game magazines, the Super Gun was a unique device that allowed you to play an arcade game on your home television. At the time, it was technically complex, prohibitively expensive, and borderline illegal. Very little information was known about it, and it was not sold in America. But somehow, someway, I was going to get it!
1K Bill 1K Bill

Nobody believed I could get it, but after weeks of research, and a couple thousand dollars, I finally located and acquired the illusive SuperGun, as well as the highly desired Street Fighter 2 Champion Edition arcade game for it. On January 13th, 1993, I was the envy of all my friends. I was once again in the spotlight. It was euphoric. Life was good. And I was ready.

Enter Giselle...


By the the summer of 1993, I had tracked down who the street fighter chick was. Mind you, all I had to work with was her first name and the name of her school. Miami is a big city. Those are not good odds. I didn't care. After contacting everyone I knew who had attended her school, and searching through the school yearbooks, I was able to confirm her information & get her last name. Then, as luck would have it, a younger friend of mine from my high school was close friends with a classmate who just so happened to have been one of her ex-boyfriends. And this was how I got her phone number, and how I was able to finally contact her.
Into the Night

Let me just say however, that the initial contact was bittersweet. Again, you have to understand the situation. It turned out that this girl was only 16, and I was 20. She certainly didn't look or act like a typical 16 year old, and I certainly didn't know or care how old she was. But other then a couple of chance encounters, I was still a stranger to her. So talking to her at a shopping mall or a video arcade was one thing. But asking her to meet me, or asking her out so I could see her, was quite another.

Risky Business

However, soon enough, a perfect opportunity finally came along that had a real chance of working. My parents were going out of town. Whenever they did, I would always throw parties, have friends over; with alcohol, music, girls, games, etc. In addition, I had this elusive SuperGun device & the newest arcade version of SF2, which was not available for any of the home game systems. Nobody had this! In addition, I also had access to an expensive high end video projector (through a coworker). So there it was, the makings of a club, in my own home, all coming together nicely.

Having all of these things honestly made me believe that I could impress this girl. And whether or not it really would, actually didn't matter. The reason being because regardless of that, having them gave me a boost of self confidence which helped my self esteem tremendously. Something I severely lacked at this point in my life. When I was out & about, without anything but what fit in my pockets, I wasn't very confident in myself & in my abilities. But when I was in a controlled environment, surrounded by the material things that helped me to impress those around me, I loved the attention and it made me feel good.

So with all of this in place, I called her up, told her what I had planned, and invited her to the party. Surely getting together in a group environment, rather then going out alone, would reduce her reservations, lower the anxiety levels, and improve the chances of her agreeing to see me? No. She still declined my invitation. I couldn't understand why. But I assumed it to be because she either didn't like me, or just didn't trust me. It was a tough pill to swallow. I was so disappointed, that I then became desperate. I just had to get her to come over; not just for me mind you, but for my friends because they said it would never happen. I so desperately wanted to impress everyone, get the attention I craved, and get my time with this girl. I just couldn't take no for an answer. I called her back, and as a final desperate plea, I literally offered her a thousand dollars just to show up at my house for that night! But she still declined the offer, and now I was completely devastated. I felt totally rejected. And even worse, because of how I mishandled it, I would most likely never get another chance.

I called my high school friend, told him what was going on, and he couldn't believe it. He told me I really screwed this up, and to just hang tight, and that he would get back to me in a bit. He called up his classmate, and they somehow sweet talked her into changing her mind. Next thing I knew, my friend told me she would come over after all. It was a humbling moment for me. And I couldn't understand it. But I was already in over my head with this girl.

Fail to Plan = Plan to Fail

So the night of the party arrived. Now, keep in mind, I was very naive & inexperienced with girls at the time. And rather then just being myself, and taking advantage of the opportunity of getting to know one another better through uninterrupted conversation, I changed my hairstyle, wore different clothes, and tried to be someone I wasn't.

Game Over Man!

The results were predictable. We didn't have meaningful conversation. We didn't get to know one another. She couldn't see the real me, and we didn't connect at any level. She seemed bored and uncertain as to why she was there. She came & went with little fanfare. It was a completely wasted opportunity. Every time I look at the pictures & watch the videos from that party, I cringe at how unnatural my demeanor was. I did indeed have many things going for me that night. But I mishandled most of them, and I failed to capitalize on all of them. And since I put out absolutely everything superficial about myself that I felt I had that night, and it didn't seem to impress her, I felt I had nothing left to offer to this girl, and it was over. I was embarrassed, felt overwhelming regret, and considered it a complete failure.

Little did I know it at the time, but I was so overly critical of myself that night, that I had misjudged everything. And I had made incorrect assumptions. My friends didn't see it that way at all. They all had a great time! It was a kick ass party, and they witnessed first hand, that I was able to not only find the street fighter girl; but got her to come to my house and play the game with us.

Time changes perspective...

Somehow, despite this initial colossal screw up, she was able to catch a glimpse of my true personality shining through that night. And she must have liked me, because she continued to give me additional opportunities. In fact, it boggles my mind how many of them I actually had. I would call her every so often to see what she was up to and to see how she was doing. She was very socially active at the time, far more then I was, always going out on the town. She particularly enjoyed the late night South Beach nightclub scene. It was where she thrived. I would often invite her to this or ask her out to that, and sometimes she was available, other times she wasn't. But it never phased me and I kept pursuing her.

No doubt, I had a huge crush on this girl, and it was perfectly obvious to her as well that I did. Granted, I never properly conveyed those feelings to her, nor did I ever flat out tell her that I was in love with her, but my obsession with her was pretty clear to everyone. I thought the world of her, and wanted her to be my girlfriend, but she put me in the friend zone and that was that.

A Beautiful Mind

I didn't realize it at the time, but my biggest success with Giselle had already been achieved. Because despite the odds, I managed to find her and officially meet her, and introduce her to my friends. I also managed to develop a relationship with her, go places with her, and enjoy time together doing things I had only dreamed of the first night I laid eyes on her. But I was blind to all of this, because I incorrectly assumed that both myself and my friends wanted more. Why? As it turns out, they didn't. And neither did I. It wasn't real. I wasn't truly in love with her. Rather, I had become fixated on the idea of being in love with her.

At this point in my life, I was more concerned with the image I portrayed to the outside world, then I was with my own personal happiness. I wanted so desperately to be the center of attention with everyone, especially among my friends, that I spent every dollar I had on whatever my friends expressed interest in. If something got their attention, I immediately had to have it. And having my friends associate her with me, and being seen with her in public were among my top priorities. Since I considered her to be the perfect ten, I just assumed that my friends and everyone else thought so as well. And as it turns out, I came to find out years later that they actually didn't! But of course, I didn't know that at the time, because I never even asked! Rather, I just assumed that the first impression she had made on them, was just as powerful for them as it had been for me. But the truth is, life went on for them after that first night, as it should have for me!

Well, it was also around this time that I met another very special girl. I was introduced to her by another group of friends from college. I developed strong feelings for this girl as well and unlike Giselle, she soon reciprocated those feelings and she eventually became my girlfriend. I still hadn't gotten over Giselle, nor had I lost all hope that we might someday be together. But my unhealthy relationship with her was becoming painful for me. And it was also causing my girlfriend stress. I initially told my girlfriend that Giselle was just a friend. I then later admitted to having feelings for her, but emphasized the fact that she did not have feelings for me. Needless to say, the two of them did not get along.
Round One

At first, I thought having a girlfriend might actually make her jealous. Perhaps it would result in her liking me more because I was now unavailable. But it didn't quite work out that way. Rather, it actually upset my girlfriend instead. It caused me all kinds of additional grief. And it wasn't long before Giselle became forbidden fruit and was classified as off limits. Contact with her stopped soon after that. And eventually, I forced myself to forget about her, and move on with my life. As the years passed, I moved away from Miami and consequently spent less time with my group of friends. My girlfriend inevitably became my wife. My responsibilities increased. My life changed. Giselle was lost to me.

But I never stopped thinking about her. And every so often, I would become interested in trying to reconnect with her. But as you have already read here, finding her was always difficult and remains to this day almost impossible! But I am tenacious. So from time to time, I would manage to locate an email or a phone number for her. Sometimes I would contact her, other times I would just let it pass.

But I never felt that I had closure with Giselle. We never openly discussed the nature of our relationship. And I never properly acknowledged it. Despite all of the times we hung out together, I never had the courage to just tell her how I felt about her. Granted, it's too late now, and I know that I can't turn back the clock. We each went our own seperate ways. Things settled down, and remain where they are. The story is written, the pages are laminated, and the book is closed.

Nothing will ever change the fact that of all the girls I ever obsessed over in my life, Giselle lasted the longest, and meant the most. To call her special is inadequate. She became a legend in my world and remains an icon from the 90's to this day. I will NEVER forget her. She became intertwined with the high end NEOGEO and Supergun gaming obsession of that time period in my life. She was an integral part of the many dreams I had which motivated me and inspired me to reach higher for the unobtainable things in life. I will always think highly of those things and the memories will never fade away. And that is the end of this story.