Getting Ready for EVO! PopLurker Interviews 5 Fighting Game Community Competitors

By Alexandrea Orozco-Lau

 

You practice countless hours. You study everything there is to know. You destroy your friends. Think you’re the best there is around. Then one day, you enter a local tournament and you get bodied.

At least that’s how most cases go.

The Fighting Game Community (FGC)- It’s been around (at least for me) for a long time. I was first introduced to this community when my friend (now husband) Ryan told me about SRK. He would explain the community that was slowly (but steadily) growing into the limelight. I was fortunate enough to attend my first Evolution (EVO) back in 2013. My husband was a normal attendee for a few years and he would always come home with stories of the excitement, the electricity and the pure HYPE that came with it all. And until you witness your first real tournament live you can’t really say you understand.

1.jpg
Top 7 Pokken EVO 2017

 

2.jpg
photo courtesy of Level Up

Here in Southern California, there are some pretty good tournaments held weekly. Wednesday Night Fights along with Falcon Punch Fridays located in Santa Ana. It’s where locals from around the greater region of So-Cal turn up and prove to others what they got. And yes, I will say it right now: SOCAL IS BETTER THAN NORCAL

#FightMe.

It’s a friendly rivalry that has been going on for ages. Also represent, west coast is better than east coast!

#FightMeAgain.

I have my favorite professional players. Marlin Pie, Ricki Ortiz, Daigo, Tokido, Yipes, and of course SuperTurbo Ryan. I reached out to my friends in the community and I asked them all the basic same questions to bring today’s interview to life since together, they bring more than thirty years of experience to the table.

 

3.jpg
I was able to meet Chocoblanka one of my favorite gamers from Team EchoFox

 

Hi everyone! Thank you for giving PopLurker this interview. Tell me, what are your names and how long you have been part of the Fighting Game Community?

SuperTurboRyan: Fifteen years. I compete and provide commentary.

Enny: I’ve been doing this about three years. My roles are Event Coordination and Broadcast Production.

Cidfox: I’ve been doing this for five years. I’m a competitor and a very occasional commentator.

Chris Hall: I have been in the Fighting Game Community for fifteen years. I share my knowledge with others and encourage new players to have fun and enjoy themselves.

Rudafuda: I’ve been in the Fighting Game Community four years and eSports for nine years. I currently contribute as an eSports caster for various Pokken events.

 

What positive changes have you seen of the course of your involvement in the community?

SuperTurboRyan: Players working hard with each other to grow local scenes and branch out to other games.

Enny: In the scene? I mean just in the short amount of time I’ve been involved I’ve seen people come up from nothing, one of them being our old player (Elegant). Went from just another smasher to best Luigi in the world in a matter of months. Venues like Esports Arena being created…huge names like GEICO, SHAQ, RICK FOX sponsoring teams, and don’t even get me started on ELEAGUE. NATIONAL REPRESENTATION with a Hollywood budget for a community that started in garages.

Cidfox: The best thing I see in the community is people with different lifestyles/upbringings finding a common ground and becoming great friends. the connection on a competitive level really bonds people together.

Chris Hall:  As far positive changes I’ve seen, for one, the community has definitely grown a ton.  We’re also starting to scratch the surface of esports which means there’s more sponsors, more players are being recognized for their efforts and being rewarded with opportunities to travel, compete, and hone their skills.

Rudafuda: The biggest positive change I’ve really seen is more acceptance at a professional level. FGC/eSports was not originally seen at a professional level but over the last 5 years or so, it has been much more widely accepted and even broadcasted on ESPN and Disney XD.

 

Where do you see this as a whole in ten years? What big changes are coming to the scene?

SuperTurboRyan: In 2002 it was a niche; in 2009 it blew up in mainstream; 2018 esports organizations are putting money into the scene; in 10 years it could be as big as MOBAs. The grassroots heart of the FGC will never be extinguished.

Enny: Man, I can’t wait to be there. I imagine it’ll be AR integrated by then. AR might honestly change the game for FGC. One of the biggest things against fighting games is that it can be difficult to follow from a spectator POV, but if players can be face to face fighting each other? That’s money. As for the scene, there’s no turning off with these guys. Even if the FGC took a mad break, it’d just be a matter of time until a game dev hyped everybody back up with the newest thing.

Cidfox: I honestly don’t know where the FGC will be in ten years. It seems like it keeps growing but it always seems a bit fragile as well. I hope that it progresses in the best way possible and continues to grow.

Chris Hall:  In ten years, I hope to see us on the level of League of Legends, Dota, Halo, etc.  All the big esports games now where we’re selling out gigantic venues, players are getting payed and are well known around the world and throughout other gaming communities besides just FG’s.  I also hope that in the next 10 years our community can grow and learn to love and respect one another.  What I mean by that, is I feel like the biggest opportunity the FGC has is respecting and loving others for playing or being good at a game that you may not necessarily enjoy.

Rudafuda: The eSports industry is one of the fastest and largest growing industries in the world currently and with production value standard being set as high as the Overwatch League, FGC will hopefully follow in their footsteps, and we will see lots of positions open in eSports production/event organization for FGC. It’s only a matter of time before FGC and eSports as a whole is broadcasted regularly on public television.

 

Do you know of any misconceptions within this industry? What do you have to say to those individuals that feel this community is a waste of time?

Chris Hall:  I say that they should be open minded to the fact that this is what makes us happy.  What they see as a waste of time is what also provides a place for some people to feel safe, a place for some people to make friends, a place for some people to feel a sense of belonging, a place where some people’s dreams are made, a place that’s putting some people through school, a place that’s allowing some people to travel that would never have such an opportunity to do so.  It’s so much bigger than just playing a video game.  And you have to think about how what I love may be a waste of time to you, but what you love may be a waste of time to me.  But that’s what’s beautiful about us as human beings; we are all so different and what drives us is what makes us unique and special.

Rudafuda: It’s clear they haven’t experienced the community for themselves. It’s so much more than just playing video games mindlessly. There’s so much that goes into it and it always starts with respect and camaraderie. FGC is just like any other community but often times I find the people in the FGC are much more accepting and welcoming of all kinds of people. It doesn’t matter what you look like, or even if you have disabilities. FGC will always welcome you and even encourage you to be the best that you can be.

 

Do you have any tips or words of advice for those up and coming fighters?

Chris Hall:  There’s a few things I think up and comers should keep in mind. First, play the game that you like.  If you like the game and you enjoy yourself when you play it, keep playing it.  Do not let others opinions influence your decision to play what makes you happy.  Second, play the characters that you like.  Too often players find themselves worried about tiers and how good their characters are and such.  But tiers don’t matter if you don’t enjoy the character you are playing because if you aren’t enjoying your character, you aren’t going to push yourself past your limit to get better. Third, and I think this one of the most important things you can do as a beginner is ask questions. You have to accept that you are going to lose.  That’s just what it is, especially when you are new because there’s going to be a lot that you don’t know and you have to learn to get better.

If you’re playing against someone that’s better than you and you don’t understand why you are losing or how something is hitting you, ask them. Forth, and this goes hand in hand with asking questions, is don’t be afraid or intimidated by players that are better than you.  Remember, the players that are where they are, started out right where you are, knowing nothing and taking loss after loss after loss from people who were better than them.  Playing people that are better than you is actually helpful to you rather than detrimental, because they know what to do and they have knowledge and a good grasp of the game.

So, you get a better understanding of the situations you can be put into and you can learn how to deal with them.  And last but not least and this is actually the most important…PLAY THE GAME!  Go to your locals, go to sessions, go tournaments, meet people, make friends get better.  You do not get better from sitting at home watching others play.  You have to play yourself and go out and support the game you love.

 

Enny: Go for gold, expect to put in more and more work the further up you go, and most importantly, connect with your community. This is the most motivating group I’ve ever been a part of. Everybody in the world wants to shine, but in FGC, everybody wants YOU to shine too. I feel like no matter how big we get we’ll all still carry that mindset as a community. We’ve come from too humble of beginnings. Growing is about exploration as much as it is doing what you love. Connecting with your community not only brings new awesome people in your life. It’s a great way to open up new avenues and potential ventures you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Thank you so much guys for this awesome interview.

19984191_10209738331670799_5755346790357846744_o
With Ono-san, the creator of Street Fighter

To me, this community is much more than just a bunch of people getting together to trash talk one another and to see who is better. It is a brother and sisterhood of individuals coming together to share the same passion. Who come together to help one another. Yes, they may take jabs at one another or even trash talk. Sure, there are the occasional players who do give the scene a bad image. But don’t let those who represent the negative draw your attention from the whole picture. To me this community is only going to go up from here.

Hell, we had THE creator of Street Fighter pull a well-known player aside and tell them that they are buffing up Chun-Li just for them. How insane is that? It’s clear that these companies know their clients and are reaching out and letting their people know they are listening. While it is sad that there are nerfs that come along the way and some characters seem to get more broken with each passing patch. But you rise to the occasion and surpass all expectations.

In ten years I hope to see this more as a norm. This literally was a community that has built itself up to something bigger and bigger with each passing month. A community where you don’t feel alone. That one day will have the respect it demands. Sure, there are those nay-sayers who will try to bring this community down. But you know what? It’s here to stay, and that my friends, is very rewarding.

PopLurker will be at EVO this year (August 3rd – 5th) covering as Press! If you see me come say hello! Let’s chat and have a few laughs.

You can catch all these amazing people I have interviewed on social media!

SuperTurboRyan is on Twitter

Enny is on Twitter and Twitch

Cidfox is on Twitter

Chris Hall is on Twitter

RudaFuda is on Twitter

Also Support team ennyMura by following their Twitch and Twitter!

 

You can follow Alexandrea on Twitter.

Follow PopLurker on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s