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 week’s guest is the one and only Shidosha!
Kash: Thank you for joining me today, please introduce yourself to the Broken Joysticks readers.
Shidosha: Shidosha; The Fly Guy, formerly known as “The Dude With The Shirt On His Head”. Shidosha for short.
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?
Shidosha: To be honest I had that nickname before I discovered the FGC. It was something my cousin gave to me and something I’ve represented since I hated being mixed up with my father who shares the same name. Nothing more annoying than being called “Little Ronald” when you aren’t 12 anymore. As far as the choice in general, people usually switch names but get stuck with a mark once they have established a position in the community for example Juicebox or Fuudo(hood) or “The Shirt”.
Kash: When exactly would you say was your first time competing in the FGC and for my curiosity (and possibly the readers), when did you start putting a shirt on your head?
Shidosha: Well I’ll start with the shirt since that happened sooner, that dates all the way back to sophomore year of high school. I had lots of hats and du-rags back then but my brother would steal those and dirty or rip em. Also, I had many weeks where I REALLY needed a hair cut but I was afraid to ask because my dad always threw fits so I just made due with what was around me. Enter the Shirt-On-Head. As for when I started competing, I started in my freshman year of college, some friends of mine went to an event in Atlanta called Final Round (FRXI) and that was when I discovered I sucked at Marvel vs Capcom 2 XD.
Kash: So Marvel vs Capcom 2 wasn’t your strong game, which game(s) are you most known for playing and what character(s) do you use?
Shidosha: Virtua Fighter 5 & Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown. My characters are Jeffry McWild, Pai Chan and Taka-Arashi(FS).
Kash: Instantly got my respect with Pai Chan. I enjoy using her and Lion Rafale. What made you select those three characters? Do they each create a balance for you for matchups?
Shidosha: Well to be honest I never selected my characters for the sake of any match-up, I just pick whomever feels comfortable to me at the time. Actually all my selections have some kind of background history to it more so than any other kind of reasoning.
Kash: Such as what exactly?
Shidosha: well before I answer that, I should state that before getting into Virtua Fighter I had just migrated over from Dead Or Alive 4 at that time. I picked Pai for that very reason, her moves responded the best to the generic DOA button layout which I was so used to and with a game like DOA where pokes and stun game is very essential, Pai just worked off the bat (probably why she’s in DOA5 now :D) As for Jeffry, my Pai was “too good” for everyone that I fought at my dorm back when I was in school, so to troll around, I picked Jeffry cuz he looked like a friend of mine and I told those guys “if you beat my Jeffry, I’ll pick my main” Yea, they never did beat Jeffry. As for Taka, He’s fat, I was fat, He doesn’t play by the rules, I don’t play by the rules, and I was always a fan of sumo characters in fighting games
Kash: So if we were to put them in order, Jeffry is your test the water character, if they slightly impress you we move to Taka and if really good, Pai gets to do some work?
Shidosha: Nah the order changed now; Taka is the bread winner while Jeff & Pai are now just my nostalgia pics. Although, I will say ONE of them has had some lab time for a future Sega Cup!
Kash: Comparing the Virtua Fighter scene to others in the FGC, it’s relatively small. The series is the first of the 3D fighters but it doesn’t share the mainstream glory like Street Fighter does for 2D fighters. What would you think would be the cause for this?
Shidosha: In my opinion? Complexity. Up until recently VF was known to have the kind of perk where you couldn’t just pick it up and mash. When you watched newcomers touch buttons & try things it looked as if they were flailing around unresponsively. Because of that, the game pace felt slow and boring. But as you progressed the game got very, very complex and faster. You find out that there is so many options & situations at your disposal, but to access these you needed some dexterity, or strong knowledge of either the system, or the opponent. Most of the people I’ve talked to say they love and respect the game for that but can’t play it because it’s “too hard”.
Kash: Few companies are currently trying to make fighters more accessible to new players. Do you think if Sega were to do this with the Virtua Fighter franchise it would help or would it make it lose its technical appeal?
Shidosha: They have done so already, which is something I admire. Sega took a big risk trying to make a game like VF accessible while still keeping the depth. There’s room for improvement, but Final Showdown was a great field test for what direction they should go for in VF6. All they need to do now is play catch-up with their graphical appeal (VF5FS came out technically in 2010, and it shows)
Kash: Online play is something that many of the top players in the FGC prefer not to do or do it in secret. Do you feel online play is good and some players just don’t take advantage or do you think online play teaches too many bad habits that won’t help in a tournament setting?
Shidosha: Well I came from the online community, I will say that the offline experience better solely due to the lack of latency you get (unless you have a laggy monitor) but you can’t knock the online community. Take advantage of every medium you have in front of you. And if you don’t, then thanks for the free win :D.
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?
Shidosha: Depends on the player. You have some people who treat this as a business, and some people that have something to prove, others follow the bandwagon, and then there are those that just want to play their way. It’s different for everyone.
Kash: As of late there’s been this push to get the FGC to eSports level. The community has a variety of colorful personalities as well as hype moments at events. What do you think is currently holding us back?
Shidosha: WE are holding us back. And I’m not just talking in the sense of behavior, but in initiative. It’s gonna take the entire community to push us forward, to provide that direction. You said a moment ago that this community has lots of colorful personalities, which is great, but we don’t have leaders. Right now we have people that want to make a profit, but not people that want to make an army. A great example of initiative is almost anything & everything the Smash Bros community is doing.
Kash: Like how they did everything to get into Evo this year? (Smash Brothers community raised money for breast cancer to be featured at this year’s Evo and almost were denied by Nintendo to have the game streamed but they worked together to change this.)
Shidosha: That is the easiest example they are a community that has been disowned by the developers they value and they STILL manage to create big numbers around the world.
Kash: When it’s time for patches in fighters, it’s seems there’s never a middle ground. Taking Injustice: Gods Among Us for instance, the game is relatively new and just hit version 1.05. The constant cry is to nerf a top character. What is your stand with patching fighting games? How is the balance in Virtua Fighter compared to other fighters also?
Shidosha: You know what? At this point I feel like patching is nothing more than an obnoxious fan service to those that don’t want to figure out the system. A quick fix that adjusts bitching more so than system issues. There are some issues where a patch is necessary (zero with a snapback glitch or DHC Infinites in Marvel vs Capcom 3) but sometimes it’s just un-necessary (Sentinel in MVC3), back in the day it was either you learn how to fight that character, or if the character was too OP and ruined variety, you banned it. As far as VF, for the most part the game is tightly balanced. There are match-ups you can take note of, but this version of VF competitiveness especially focuses on YOMI more so than system mechanics. In other words, not too much about who you pick, it’s about your opponent’s thought process.
Kash: How difficult do you think it is for a new person to enter the community and feel welcomed from your experiences?
Shidosha: Honestly, that’s a hard one to answer for me. This community is filled with niches: high level niches, low level niches, regional niches, game specific niches, and this will seem weird, but I never see many niches mingle with each other from within the same community. Maybe one or two people migrate elsewhere, but overall everyone hangs out with the same people all the time and if their buddies aren’t there they don’t attend. Now that’s the OFFLINE experience. As far as forums & message boards, I found it hard to communicate until I made a name for myself but everyone wants to talk to the guys in the “high level” niche, right?
Kash: How nervous do you get during a tournament
Shidosha: Depends on what I’m thinking about, and how far along i am in the tournament. Pool play I don’t get nervous, I use that time to scout players and see where my level of play is that tay (if i’m on fire or not) but as I progress closer to top 16/8/4, I start thinking about what I’ve done earlier, what I’ve exposed, what moves I forgot about. I over think and make myself really nervous. I am proud to say though, none of my pressure comes from cameras, that took a lot of work to overcome.
Kash: While it’s something that’s been going on for a while, what’s your take on pot splitting or throwing matches on stream? Should there be ramifications for doing it?
Shidosha: honestly, I feel like it’s their money (if they all managed to successfully place in the payout spots) but if that’s going to hinder you from playing at 100% then it’s a no-no. Match throwing I am not okay with. Giving up your spot just to earn a greater payout elsewhere is not only unfair but it ruins the chance for those you played prior. Not to mention integrity but that’s a discussion on morale that I’ll save for another day.
Kash: Also how do you feel about teammates who are forced to fight at tournaments and usually just forfeit to let the better player move on. Ex: we both are sponsored players on a team. We make it to semifinals and have to play, I decide to just let you go instead of playing against you. Wouldn’t you think fans want to see who’s better of the two than just throwing it?
Shidosha: They would, if a player decides to just give up his spot than he’s not much of a competitor again, integrity comes in to play, but this time it’s coupled with self worth/confidence I guess.
Kash: Other than fighting games, what other styles of games do you play?
Shidosha: I play everything! Honestly, I’ve never seen myself as a competitive gamer; just a gamer.
Kash: Was there anything at this years E3 that made you scream I need this in my life now whether it was a console or game?
Shidosha: Well this year I spent my E3 working with Ubisoft & while I can’t talk about what I was playing, let’s just say, I need what they provided in my LIFE! I’m also a big Wolfenstein fan so even if it sucks I’m always hype for that. Oh, and Saint’s Row.
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?
Shidosha: I’d take Alan Wake & put him in either Slender: The Arrival or The Last Of Us. I’ve always wondered how his character would panic in a situation like that.
Kash: Super Smash Brothers 3Ds/Wii U revealed to us the Villager from Animal Crossing, Wii Fit Trainer
from Wii Fit and a guest character, Classic Megaman which we all know from the NES Megaman titles. Seeing how Nintendo can grab any character and turn them into a fighter, is there anyone you’d like for them to add both 1st party or 3rd party?
As far as third party? Maybe Spyro the Dragon, nobody would see that coming.
Kash: You’ve been keeping it under wraps but outside of Virtua Fighter you’re all about entertaining people online. Any places specifically people can tune in to watch you?
Shidosha: twitch.tv/Shidosha for anything game related, I also have my youtube page which I intend to update after VidCon next weekend Youtube.com/itstheshirt. Theres also my Instagram, my Vine, I can go on forever but I’ll just limit it to twitter.com/shidosha.
Kash: Any last words for the Broken Joysticks readers?
Shidosha: Thanks for reading, I hope O didn’t get as wild & out of line as I usually do, and shout-outs to the #ShirtArmy, #TeamNeckBat, & my Regular-Regulars that may be reading 😀