It's been 18 years since I first stepped up to that Street Fighter 2 machine in the Philippines, coaxed by my cousin, not knowing who to pick and how to even jump. How was I to know that that simple moment would be the beginning of such a crazy, fun, sometimes frustrating and absolutely amazing journey playing Street Fighter? While I've gotten into all sorts of messy situations because of the game and I probably played too much for my own good(I should write about that stuff someday), I have no regrets because of the many, many friends I've known through the game. At the end of the day, Street Fighter is just a game, and while I can't say for sure if I'll still be playing when I'm married with kids(Though I'd LOVE to teach my boy SF. You go Chwan!), I'll always treasure the friends I've made playing this crazy game.
In all my efforts here promoting Street Fighter and all that, I pray to God that it's not the GAME I'm building, but the COMMUNITY. If some of you guys reading this are feeling that some relationships are taking a hit in your life because of Street Fighter, let me say right now that it's not worth it. If you're the best in this game but a bad sport, its not worth it. Street Fighter is a tool that can teach you to be a better person and help you make friends, or it can teach you to be an asshole and help you make enemies. It's your choice.
Me, I've chosen the former, and I've been privileged to be able to be accepted in different parts of the world just because I play the game. While I can hardly speak or understand Korean, Street Fighter was the common language that helped me bond with complete strangers at the arcades there. I met life-long friends and my first girlfriend in a Philippine arcade. I made friends with a Japanese arcade operator in Yokohama using his split-screen translation software. I can go to many places in the world now where I'll be welcomed at the home of someone who plays Street Fighter: America. Australia. Germany. Indonesia. Malaysia. Canada. Was is Seraph in the Matrix who said, "You do not truly know someone until you fight them."? While not true in all contexts and situations, it somehow rings true in Street Fighter.
And when Street Fighter players come to Singapore, I love meeting them, showing them around my country, letting them try our kickass food and having them over at my place for some Street Fighter sessions. So it's pretty apt that in the past 3 months, we've had SF visitors every month.
Second from left, to my right, is Capcom Versus SNK 2 celebrity Desora aka Yamada Keisuke, the most famous Raiden player in the world. He stopped over Singapore on a solo Asia tour and got into contact with me via Youtube, as I posted a CvS2 match long ago. We had great matches with him in CvS2, got completely annihilated in Third Strike, good games in Alpha3 and I got a few games in with him in SF4. And of course, a nice dinner where he gave each of us a little souvenir from Japan. Now, I have a friend in Kyoto that I can hit up anytime.
Second from left, to my left, is Kim Tae Yeon from Seoul, Korea. With a very aggressive Blanka, we had a little tournament for him at Bugis where everyone had fun. He joined me for Church on Saturday and we showed him around Singapore a little. I also had a few PS3 games with him at my place.
Last but not least is DashKen aka Ken from Hong Kong. His Zangief style was definitely different from any Singaporean I've played, it's hard to explain! We traded games all around, and I got a few insights into the HK scene, and lots of comments regarding the beauty of Singaporean women lol!
Well, it looks like the trend of a visitor per month is going to continue with the arrival of my very good friend and first SF4 sparring partner, Laugh aka Ryan from Korea sometime next week. He was really gracious to let me stay at his place when I was in Seoul last year, and he's one heck of a SF4 Chun Li player. While he really hates the Japanese sticks that are used in arcades here (Korean sticks are...different), I'm sure he'll give the best players here a run for their money nonetheless. Look out for him at the next tournament in Bugis on the 27th.
And speaking of tournaments, our last 2v2 at Bugis was our biggest with 42 participants and of course, 3 winners. Here they are:
1st: Team Tan & Guan with Peihoon and Ah Guan
2nd: Team Toa Payoh with Leslie and Vincent
3rd: Team Awesome with Daniel and Christopher
*Edit* Apologies for the mixup. I'm still getting used to using my new tournament organizing software, and names were ommitted during the registration process by the team for some reason. Rest assured we are constantly applying new things we learn and are committed to making the tournament experience smoother, more efficient and fun for everyone. *End Edit*
I must say, Peihoon really is dominating the Singapore scene right now. He's currently the clear number 1, capable of winning a best of 3 series with every other top player in Singapore. Will he win again in two weeks time? Stay tuned, lol. Congrats again to all the winners and thanks again to all who came down and participated! Even if you didn't win, as usual, I say you definitely leveled your game up.
Street Fighter is a great game, but it's just that, a game. The people and the community will always be more important, so here's to good friends and good games.
Oh and for those of you who have been playing SF4 exclusively at home online, you're missing out on the best part. =)