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 Spab Daddy, BIFU | Spab Rog.
Kash: Thank you so much for joining me today, please introduce yourself to the Broken Joysticks readers.
Spab: My Name is BIFU| Spab Rog and I’m an El Fuerte located in Brooklyn, NY.
Kash: Could you tell us a bit more about your BIFU sponsorship? How many other teammates are under the BIFU title also?
Spab: Well my BIFU “sponsorship” really is a team. Outside of these guys really being like family to me, the other benefit BIFU provides me with is helping me travel to majors. I never have to pay for the hotel or the drive there, but I pay for my expenses (Food, Tournament Entry, Etc.) It saves me a good 200 dollars each major. But outside of that, I really feel at home with them since they’re my teammates. Honestly, I would have stopped playing a while ago if it wasn’t for them. Right now the players are: Me, Coach Steve, Mike G, Loose Morals, Slob Murph, and Winrich. and the behind the scene crew is: Lord Bifu Himself, Pimpsc00by, AmazonAgent, Philski, and Eric the Intern.
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?
Spab: Well contrary of what people say hahaha. “Spab” actually has no meaning. I wanted to make a name where I would create its legacy, so when people hear Spab, they think of me. I also had a Call Of Duty clan that I named Spab that had a lot of my good friends that I know in real life, and some I’ve met over a decade in ago online in my favorite game of all time: SOCOM 2: US Navy Seals. Which brings me into the last part of my Fighter Tag: “Rog”. Rog is an acronym for “RifleOfGod” which used to be my SOCOM 2 username when I played when the game was active back in 2004. I wanted to pay homage to the game that sparked my competitive spirit, it means a lot to me because SOCOM 2 was a game that I loved to death until it got hacked to death and next gen consoles took over.
Kash: You mentioned you play El Furte so obviously you play Street Fighter 4. Any other characters or fighters you play competitively?
Spab: Well, in tournament I only choose El Fuerte because that’s who I’m most comfortable with and that’s who I’ve invested most of my time into. But when I play online or don’t wanna use my main, Ryu is my number one choice. If I didn’t use Fuerte, Ryu would definitely be my main.
Kash: Do you play any other fighting game competitively or are you strictly SF4?
Spab: For now yes SF4, I’m trying to learn Marvel, but as of late, I’ve been very busy with School + Work. But I will learn Marvel eventually :).
Kash: You said you play El Fuerte because he is your most comfortable character to use. What made you first pick him when others usually bash him and point to the upper tiered characters?
Spab: Well as for the character I picked him because no one played him, I like using characters that aren’t commonly seen. Along with that, I just loved his mobility. In real life, I’ve always been the Skinny guy, but I’ve always been fast, a lot of charisma, and I’m a very passionate person overall. Kind of the things that Fuerte brought to the table. I’ve also been fascinated with human behavior. I’d like to play with my strengths and I feel that I’m pretty smart and I trust myself with my decisions, as well as being very observant, he seemed like the right fit at the time. Honestly if you were to sum it down, one of the key reasons I use him is because I wanna inspire people. I wanna show people hard work and passion pays off. I always believe that the will to win is stronger than the skill of a player, at high level at least, character matchups do not exist in that plane. PS: Top Tier characters bore me so much. I can’t play them unless I absolutely love what they represent.
Kash: What is your highest placing currently at a tournament?
Spab: At Majors, my highest placing was 5th. But at Locals I have quite a track record:
1st places: 8
2nd places: 4
3rd places: 45+
that’s a lot of money spent playing, even more losing hahaha.
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?
Spab: I think online is awesome when your playing with people who are as driven as you are. I don’t suggest someone who’s trying to get tournament ready, to play online in ranked with people who are just rolling the dice. At that point, your just waiting for them to kill themselves, your spending more time just waiting than actually playing. But I feel like if you train online with a tournament head, that it can help a lot. But the timing for execution online and offline is day and night. For me at least.
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?
Spab: I feel like a lot of people are so brainwashed by top players saying which characters are high tier and are only capable of winning. I always say, if it’s physically impossible, then that’s when it’s impossible. But if there’s a meta, there’s a way. Sometimes you gotta just take the struggle, it’s gonna pay off. I’m telling you right now, I’ve learned sooo much playing fuerte because I didn’t have “top tier” options. It gave me a different mentality. Examples: MLSwear and PIE| SMUG.
Kash: Patching fighters is usually on a per company basis and if they currently have the resources with some companies doing it frequently than others. What is your opinion on patching fighters, do we require them frequently or annually?
Spab: A patch every 3 months is overdoing it. A Patch every year might be a little better. You can’t cater to the players right away, it’s going to baby them, and prolong their growth as a player. Trust me, people will still play games even if they’re “broken”. But I understand the corporations view on it. But yeah, too many patches are dumb.
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?
Spab: Honestly, I think it’s fear of the unknown. The way we know the FGC and the way eSports is are two polar opposites. eSports will definitely draw in more of a crowd and give more exposure, as well as money. But FGC grass roots is just hype, just raw no holds bar, which people enjoy. I think if there was a middle ground where eSports and FGC can meet it could be probably the best thing that can happen in gaming, as long as the players can show their emotion without any consequence. But of course, while keeping it in line. I enjoy the ESGN TV commentary as well, you have a personality, Gootecks – who is very knowledgeable, and the other guy ( I think his name is Tasteless?) who’s very professional and is very colorful, it’s a team that could definitely create strong synergy and bring out the best of both worlds.
Kash: How difficult do you think it is for a new person to enter the community and feel welcome, from your experiences? Also how open are you for people to come to you for advice, guidance or to play a set?
Spab: I feel like anyone can come into the community, never have I seen anyone get shun. Sometimes when people are new, people are not gonna be buddy buddy with you right off the bat, but they will always be respectful. As for me, I’ll play anyone to be honest, only if I’m in the mood to play haha. If I lose in tournament I rarely like to play casuals unless I’m training for a major. But I’m open to anyone to come up to me and ask for advice, whenever there’s newer players at Next Level, and I see them lose, I always tell them general things that can help their game. I’ve taught many people to late tech the more “efficient” way. It seems like a lot of the community doesn’t really have good defense. and honestly, top players abuse that.
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? With tournament organizers and streamers vowing to work together to stop that, do you think we’ll see less of it?
Spab: Honestly, I do not like pot splitting, but I can see why people do it. But I like to believe the people who win, should reap all the rewards. As for throwing matches, it just looks dumb. It’s so easy to be skeptical about it too when you watch common matchups and you see them all buddy buddy on player cam smiling and laughing. It takes away from the imagination from what competition is. That’s why I enjoy watching Sanford, Dieminion play. It’s more about pride than anything, the money is important, but the glory is something you can never replace.
Kash: If you could challenge any player to a ft10 in any of the three games you currently play, who would you pick and why?
Spab: Hmmmmmm this is a hard one. I would want Chris G in AE, just because at the recent Kumite in Tennesee, he said East Coast is lacking in Street Fighter. I think he is a great player and has shown his versatility,and I have the upmost respect for him. But every time I play him, I feel he just gets a bit lucky. I never feel outplayed. I’m not the type to complain about characters though, but sometimes the engine fails against me and I get punished really hard for it. I would love to play him because I know everything about him, I know his tendencies, his logic, I know his game plan, I know his intuition, I’ve study him for too long to let him win more than 6 games against me.
Kash: Other than fighting games, what other styles of games do you play?
Spab: Deep down in my heart, I’m a shooting game fan. I’d like to think that I do alright for myself in fighting games, but in shooters, if I properly trained for high level stuff, I can do really really good for myself. Everything just makes sense for me in them. Fun Fact: My Gamebattles clan in Call Of Duty 4 beat the number 1 team at the time 😀
Kash: Are there any upcoming game(s) on any platform that makes you scream “I need this in my life”?
Spab: Honestly, I haven’t looked into anything like that to be honest. But there is a game coming out for PS4 called “H-Hour” which is made by the guy who made SOCOM 2 and it’s shaping up to look very reminiscent to that title, which is my all time favorite game. Everything I learned from it, I use in fighting games today.
Kash: Next gen consoles are out and the only one with a fighter made exclusively for next gen is Killer Instinct on Xbox One. How do you feel about the game, will it do well being exclusively on Xbox One and will you pick it up for tournaments?
Spab: I haven’t even touched a next gen console yet hahaha. But I think it should get good numbers. I watch it on TRB from time to time, it’s a solid game. I just hope that people don’t get discouraged watching Justin win a lot, he has a lot of fighting game experience, and it shows in his play. As long as people don’t give up on their games, everything should be fine.
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?
Spab: I would put El Fuerte in Marvel just so I could go HAM hahahaha.
Kash: Any upcoming tournaments that you’ll be attending?
Spab: Winter Brawl is looking like a definite at the moment, but I will be very busy throughout this semester at school. So I got to take care of my responsibilities. Possibly EVO, I would love to play the Japanese.
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?
Spab: I usually play on Bifuteki’s stream on Thursdays. But whenever I have the urge to play online, I go to PandaxGaming’s stream to play against the online warriors so that they can get experience with someone with a tournament mentality. Because I know that one match will spark something in their head. But I’ll only play online if it doesn’t lag.
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?
Spab: Hmmm, I just want people to continue playing. Stay with the characters that you love and bring you joy, you’ll become a better player in the long run and learn how to fight against Game Engines that aren’t in your favor instead of trying to find an easy way out. Easy isn’t always better. Passion is greater than matchups, this has been proven to me inside FGC and outside of FGC. Shoutouts to my sponsor @Bifuteki . follow us on twitter, watch the streams, support and you can follow me @MrSpab on twitter I mostly tweet about FGC things, joking, as well as how to be a serious competitor, Even though I haven’t won a major, I have a lot of tournament experience, which definitely counts for something, I answer all questions when asked. You can see my youtube channel at YouTube.com/spabrog. And a big thanks yo Broken Joysticks for the opportunity, I appreciate that you guys chose me out of a lot of players out there. Truly an honor. Spab Daddy. Out.