The fighting game community (FGC) has grown from holding local events to smaller venues to occupying ballrooms at four-star establishments with talent from all across the globe attending. Major sponsors such as Capcom, Namco Bandai, and others are responsible for the development of some of the world’s most famous franchises in gaming, and are showcased at a central tournament featuring the top fighting talent from across the world. With major prize pools, fighting games are now reaching a platform that can be compared to traditional eSports.
Each week, I’ll be posting interviews I’ve had the pleasure of conducting with members of the fighting game community. The interviews will touch upon their history in the FGC, where they got their start, and what they’d like to see from video games in general.
This weeks guest is considered a hidden gem in the FGC: Mike Begum aka Brolylegs.
Kash: Thank you for joining me today, please introduce yourself to the Broken Joysticks readers.
Brolylegs: Hi, I am Mike Begum or more known as Brolylegs.
Kash: A fighter’s tag is like their identity. Some would rather use their name and some nicknames; how did you decide what yours will be?
Brolylegs: It’s a funny story. My tag back in Super Smash Bros was just ”Broly” based on the DBZ character. At the tournament, Southern Impact, I was called on to the stream and they needed a name. My friend went up and told them ”Brolylegs” just to poke fun. Stuck with me ever since.
Kash: How would you say you got your first start in the FGC?
Brolylegs: Well my first fighting game I actually got to practice was Guilty Gear xx Accent Core but I never entered a tournament for it. Then SF4 came and I was a borderline beginner to the game. It took me all the life expectancy of Vanilla to really practice Chun-Li and the buttons I needed. Once Super hit, I began entering tournaments locally. Those were the first FGC tournies I went to.
Kash: I know about your condition, but please explain to our readers who aren’t familiar about it as well as the manner in which you play and dominate.
Brolylegs: My conditions are Arthrogryposis and Multiple Scoliosis. The first one is the one dealing with the inability to grow muscle in my limbs. This has also cause the bones in my joints to constrict and stay in a permanent position. I still am able to move my arms and legs so I am not paralyzed. The second condition is the curve in my spinal cord. This has kept me body from being straight and unable to walk, stand or sit. Moreover, these barriers have stopped me from doing everyday tasks such as grab, flex, lift, and loss of motion. The thing that wasn’t affected was my face and mouth. I use those two features to write, type, play video games, grab stuff, and perform other minor stuff my hands couldn’t do.
Kash: Which game(s) are you most known for playing and what character(s) do you use?
Brolylegs: In the past, I was best known in Super Smash Bros using Marth. I entered tournaments for that game from 2004-2008 all over Texas, and actually placed 4th in a major. Once the new game hit, Brawl, I competed for one year until Super Street Fighter 4 was out. Now I am known as the Chun-Li specialist as I played her in every version. She is the best character for my disability and continue to hone my skills with her. I also play her and Bison in Street Fighter X Tekken, placing top 8 in our recent Texas major Texas Showdown 13.
Kash: Are you currently sponsored by anyone? If not, do you think you’re being overlooked? I’ve seen your skills in action and you give current sponsored players a run for their money.
Brolylegs: Well honestly, I am in preliminary talks to join SVK. Their leader is a cool friend of mine that helped me a lot in going to Evo last year. He wants to sponsor me and let me partake in some of his projects. But to answer your question about being overlooked, I have to say yes. I have been at this for about two years, and the tournaments I attend, I actually do really well for the disability I am in. I feel like I can market any team extremely well, not create drama like some sponsored players do today, and be a great example to the scene. Why I haven’t been approached is the biggest mystery to me.
Kash: Do you think other people in the FGC like their characters because they like them, or because they need to use them based on the current tiers and meta game?
Brolylegs: I feel like all players choose the character they like first. After using them for a couple months, they stick with them if they are viable, and drop them if they aren’t. Top players must choose top tiers to stay relative. For example, I chose a low tier in Super Smash Bros Melee, Roy. He was exactly like Marth, but way slower. After a year, I wanted to do better, and felt like Roy wasn’t enough, so I chose Marth and did extremely better.
Kash: Continuing from there, how do you think Chun-Li fares in SF4 and in xT? If it wasn’t for your disability would you still use her in both games or switch for someone better?
Brolylegs: Honestly, Chun-Li is pretty bad in SF4 and too good in xT. If I wasn’t disabled, I would still try Chun-Li just to see if I could go farther in her development. After that, I think I would have chosen Ryu or Akuma. In SFxT, I probably would have preferred using Kazuya and probably Nina or Lili. Hate using the same character in different games unless I must.
Kash: The FGC has been slowly evolving from something small to big as time continues to move. Do you feel the FGC is at the same level as eSports?
Brolylegs: No, not until there is order. People like to think that the community is great as is, but to be honest, we are only going to be stuck if we cannot stop the dramatics. There are mentions of collusion, pot splitting, and bracket rigging that only hurts our image. E-sports have rules in place to stop the negative and punish those who break it. I am not asking to control every move a player, sponsor, or Tournament Organizer makes, but to implement standard rules to clean thing up. Only then will we see great growth in the FGC.
Kash: How difficult do you think it is for a new person to enter the community and feel welcomed?
Brolylegs: Not hard at all. The world we live in is easily connected by the Internet. All they gotta do is have the motivation to get out there. Once you go to a tournament, you will feel the welcome.
Kash: How nervous do you get during a tournament match?
Brolylegs: Nowadays I don’t feel nervous. I have had too much experience to get that way. Before, in Smash, I did feel it when a crowd would watch. It is scary to be looked at by so many people.
Kash: While it’s something that’s been going on for a while, what’s your take on pot splitting? Should there be ramifications for doing it?
Brolylegs: I feel like you can’t truly do anything about it. All the T.O should do is make sure that each player is playing at their best. If they feel the players aren’t, then they should ban them from the next event. It’s important to give everyone a good show even though they earned the right by reaching grand finals. Very tough thing to enforce.
Kash: Do you think it makes you look weaker in the eyes of the community that you’re willing to throw a match for the prize over winning it by pure skill alone?
Brolylegs: Of course. Everyone should play to be the best. Prizes come and go. The winners are always remembered. That’s the ultimate goal as a competitor.
Kash: Other than fighting games, what other styles of games do you play?
Brolylegs: I am a gamer at heart. I will play all genres if I am able. My favorites are platformers such as Sonic series, RPGs like the Zelda and Tales series, as well as the FPS games like Halo. Halo and Rainbow Six was what I did before fighters.
Kash: What is your current system of choice and which system do you see yourself using for the next generation?
Brolylegs: Xbox 360 and i’ll stick to if the controller is doable. PS3 is too wide, and Wii/Wii-U is impossible, haha.
Kash: With the current release of Injustice: Gods Among Us, and all of its unique features in a fighter, how do you think the FGC will treat it? Will you consider picking it up?
Brolylegs: I am picking it up. Love Bane in the game. I think Injustice will receive the same or even more attention than Mortal Kombat 9. I am hoping that it will last because it is a break from AE and Marvel.
Kash: Do you think the game will help evolve the fighting game genre? So far it seems your character and stage selection are crucial as well as each character playing uniquely.
Brolylegs: I feel like it’ll help the fighting game scene immensely. Having your favorite heroes and villains fight each other can captivate huge crowds. It all depends on how long people can sustain the interest.
Kash: If you could grab any character from one game and put them in any other game, who would you pick, where would you place them and why?
Brolylegs: I would put Karin from the SF Alpha series into SSF4AE2013 because she deserves some justice and light into our new generation of fighters. I would do my very best to use her.
Kash: In this segment, I’m going to name two different characters, series, etc., and just tell me which one you’d pick over the other one. Since I hear you’re lady stealer, were keeping it in the realm of female characters.
Kash: Chun-Li or Cammy, which of the two SF veterans is the strongest?
Brolylegs: Chun-Li easily. Has the projectile advantage.
Kash: If looks could kill which of these two will slay you faster, She Hulk or Wonder Woman?
Brolylegs: Wonder Woman, but barely. Those Amazonian women are too much for us mortal men.
Kash: Mai Shiranui or Taki, which of the two is the true kunoichi?
Brolylegs: Darn, such a tough one. I really like Mai, but I love Taki as I used her in Soul Calibur 2. Kasumi is also very formidable, but Taki wins in my opinion.
Kash: Elena or Christie Montiero, who has the better dance moves to join with you?
Brolylegs: Wow, another close call. I think I will choose Christie. Known her the longest.
Kash: Sonya Blade or Nina Williams, which of these two battle veterans would win in a fight to the death?
Brolylegs: Sonya wins hands down. Always loved her in the games, and she has guns. That is overpowered, haha.
Kash: Nina has guns too, shes an assassin for hire lol
Brolylegs: Oh wow. Never seen her use them other than from decapitated enemies. Well, Sonya has a divekick in MK9. Divekick always wins.
Kash: What’s your top three favorite games of all time?
Brolylegs: 1. Star Fox 64 2. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle 3. Tales of Symphonia
Kash: Any upcoming tournaments that you’ll be attending?
Brolylegs: Was thinking about CEO, but I don’t know how the fundraiser for my traveling went which was being ran by PandaxGaming. I think I might just wait until EVO if that didn’t work. If you guys want to help, this is the link tinyurl.com/getbrolytoceo
Kash: With stream sites like Twitch becoming the easiest gateway for people to view the community and players in action, is there any particular stream were people may see you play outside of a tournament setting?
Brolylegs: Yeah definitely. I just began running my own stream where I play fighters such as AE, UMVC3, SFXT, Injustice and maybe some GGXXACP. You can watch me at twitch.tv/brolylegs
Kash: Any last words for the Broken Joysticks reader as well as any way for them to contact you with any questions they might have?
Brolylegs: It was great getting the chance to share my story with all of you! Hope you guys will enjoy my future progress in the FGC and help me get to events across the US. Anytime you wanna play a game on XBL, or want to ask me a question or advice, hit me up with a message or follow me @UBWBrolylegs and let me know. Thanks again for the opportunity to talk gaming!