Bandai Namco's SoulCalibur franchise turns 20 years old today, but the series hasn't seen a proper release since 2012. Regardless, the company put out a trailer to celebrate, reflecting on 20 years of rich tradition, characters, and standard-setting fighting mechanics.

Nope, it's actually a commercial for a pachinko machine. Konami isn't the only company in Japan who does this, you know.

Now it's time for the real celebration

I first played Soul Blade in the year 1997, but I was a heartbroken child at the time. My parents let me rent a PlayStation console from my local Microplay for the weekend. Remember when that was a thing? I really wanted to play Final Fantasy VII, but I didn't realize memory cards were required, having gamed on Nintendo machines my whole life.

Teary-eyed upon returning it, the store clerk recommended I pick up a fighting game instead. I went for War Gods because of the green-guy on the cover, and he shook his head disapprovingly. "Here, kid. Try this one," as he handed me the Soul Blade copy. I agreed with this recommendation, took the game home, and was blown away with what I saw.

I post this video all the time, but there really is no better way for me to express my love for this game. The first time I saw this CG intro, I was blown away. It's a huge moment in my personal gaming history.

From there, the rest of the games trickled into my life. Seung Mina became an early gaming crush of mine. SoulCalibur on the Dreamcast was a game-changer in terms of graphics, and Soul Calibur 2 starred Link. 'Nuff said.

I sort of fell out of line with the series after that, but I've waited patiently for a way to get back in. Maybe I'll check out SoulCalibur 5 if I can find it cheap anywhere. Until then, to go! To shine!