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 prizepools, fighting games are now reaching a platform that can be compared to traditional eSports.
Every two weeks, 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 probably the best Gouken in the East Coast, Sean Simpson aka Shine.
Kash: Thank you so much for joining me today, please introduce yourself to the Broken Joysticks readers.
Shine: My name is Sean Simpson, I’m a fighting game player from New York.
Kash: Are you currently part of a team and/or currently sponsored?
Shine: Nope, I’m not part of a team anymore. Although shoutouts to my former FNEX teammates.
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?
Shine: Well… Before I played Fighting Games I was really into playing Gears of War. Back then a common trend was to take any random word out of the dictionary, and dress it in “O’s” and “I’s”. I chose “Shine” and made the gamertag “o ShiiNe o” shortly after. After awhile I dropped the i’s and o’s however. I wish there was more of a story behind that one….but there you go haha.
Kash: Which fighting game(s) are you most known for and which character(s) do you play?
Shine: I’m probably most known for my play in Street Fighter 4. I’m more known for my Gouken play, but I play Yang as well.
Kash: What reason led you in selecting you current character of choice?
Shine: I really liked Gouken’s theme. I used to play arcade mode just to beat Seth and hear it in the credits (don’t ask me why I didn’t just find the OST online somewhere, complicating simple things is what I do). I also got a glimpse in the early days of what the character was capable of when I discovered the Japanese Gouken player Desora. It inspired me to play Gouken after seeing what the character was capable of and no one was playing him so I figured I’d give it a try. It was definitely rough at first but the character was so much fun that regardless of the losses I kept having fun playing him and believe me, there were many losses I had to endure before I started winning.
Kash: What is your highest placing currently at a tournament?
Shine: My highest placing for Street Fighter X Tekken was a couple of first places at a few locals here and there. In SF4 I’ve only ever gotten second at Next Level Battle Circuit recently beating some of NY’s best but losing to the UK’s own Ryan Hart in the grand finals. I don’t go to many tournaments, but given the opportunity I’d love to, I’m not sure how much of a possibility that is though.
Kash: Recently you participated in the King of New York B League tournament and because of the second place winner giving up his spot, you joined the A league to compete at a later event with the other A league members. What was going through your events during the tournament and your reactions to advancing to A league?
Shine: It was a bitter sweet feeling. I’m glad that I would be able to participate in the A league, but it was due to a technicality why I was even in there. However, I did have to convincingly beat some really good players to even be in the position I’m in now, so its not 100% due to a technicality why I’m there, but I wanted to get there 100% legit is all. Despite that I’ll make the best of the opportunity and I’ll be on a different level when the day approaches.
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?
Shine: It depends on who you play and if you have a goal going into online play. It has its place, but there are things that you will never learn no matter how much you play online. Online is great for learning some of your options in certain matchups, doing some test work, and testing your own patience. The problem with online is that you don’t learn the really important stuff. Playing in the comfort of your own home is nothing like sitting next to a person and playing. There is just a different mentality and feel overall. For starters, the obvious is that there’s no delay, so there are many gimmicks and tactics that will only get you very far playing online. Another thing is that learning to control and pace yourself in a tournament setting is probably the hardest thing that you have to learn that online won’t teach you. It’s very hard to be patient and play with a calm head at first when there’s money on the line. Learning not only to control your nerves but to control your emotions as well while you play is difficult. The more you play offline, the more your nerves go away. Some great players are emotional regardless, but as a personal preference I don’t like to show my opponent my mental state, but I will always glance at my opponent to see the expression on their face after certain things. It’s pretty much how I smell blood, and small things like that you can only get used to playing offline.
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?
Shine: I don’t believe there’s a single person in the the FGC that does well with a character they legitimately don’t like. Every person likes their character to some extent if they are willing to spend many hours to learn them. Even the people that play top tier in SF4, in this game there isn’t one definitive top tier character, you can choose from Cammy, Fei long, Akuma, Adon, Seth, etc. I’m sure tiers influence someones decision to some extent, but no one would ever sit there and play a character they 100% don’t like.
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?
Shine: I’m of the newer generation, so I can’t relate to the nostalgia back then of grinding a game out and developing the metagame for 10 years straight. However I will say that I’m open to the idea of patching fighters as long as its not overdone. I can tell you right now that if Vanilla SF4 was still the version being played, I wouldn’t be playing SF4 today. On the other hand, we should have a significant amount of time before a game is patched to discover if the game is actually in need of a balance changed or not. This problem is gets even more complicated when you ask for player input on balance changes. As some players for example will purposefully withhold information to prevent their character getting nerfed. Patching is a double edged sword, but I’m open to the idea as it does re ignite interest in the game regardless of how bad the new version may turn out to be.
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?
Shine: I definitely don’t get into the FGC politics, I like to compete first and foremost. What I will say is this, the main thing holding the FGC back is an open mindset to the fact that things may have to change, and that probably scares some people.
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?
Shine: Well, it depends on the situation. You can go anywhere and have a good time if you have the open mind for it. The community for the most part is welcoming. The only issue is that if you’re not a good or known player, some people might give you the cold shoulder here and there, but that’s definitely the minority. I’m always open to that stuff, especially if its about the characters I play since I love talking about my characters in general. I definitely don’t mind if people ask me anything. I will never charge people to play or for advice, ever.
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?
Shine: I think pot splitting is a bit more harmless than throwing matches. However, both kill the competitive spirit of the tournament to some extent. Even then, it’s something that will always be there, you can’t get rid of it no matter how hard you try. With tournament organizers and streamers working together you may “see” less of it, but it’ll still be going on, if anything under the table and behind closed doors.
Kash: Recently it was revealed that Ultra Street Fighter 4 will have a mode called Edition Select where you can pick a past iteration for a character. Capcom revealed this mode is offline only. Do you think it should remain as offline only along with how do you think tourneys will decide the rule format now with this added variable?
Shine: Edition select should have never seen the light of day. I would hope that tournaments would possibly make edition select a side tournament if anything, and keep Ultra the main game. But I would have preferred Capcom spend more time on rethinking their decisions on what they did to Deejay than make a mode where I would have to deal with vanilla Akuma and AE Yun again.
Kash: If you could challenge any player to a ft10 past or present, who would you pick and why?
Shine: Definitely Infiltration. I love to fight people that understand how Gouken works, it always forces to me to change up what I’m doing and rely more on solid play. It also lets me play Gouken to his strengths easier.
Kash: Other than fighting games, what other styles of games do you play?
Shine: I don’t play many types of games nowadays aside from fighting games, but I love shooters, rpgs, and sidescrolling platformers.
Kash: Are there any upcoming game(s) on any platform that makes you scream “I need this in my life”?
Shine: I heard they confirmed Gears 4, if I can get a promise it will be nothing like Gears of War Judgment then yes.
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?
Shine: I’ve never touched Killer Instinct, and until they make a character that interests me I probably won’t. Glacius was pretty close to catching my interest, but his floaty jump and awkward mobility killed it for me.
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?
Shine: I’d take Akihiko from Persona 4 and put him in every game I play. That character is so much fun to play.
Kash: Any upcoming tournaments that you’ll be attending?
Shine: None that I can think of except for The King of New York A League. Root for me please!
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?
Shine: Check out Pandaxgaming, you can find me in there pretty often just playing casuals in the lobby.
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?
Shine: Thanks for having me and thanks to the reader for making it this far and taking the time to read all I had to say. You can find me on Facebook, or you can just hit me up on Xbox Live, I don’t have a twitter at the moment but I’ll be making one soon so keep an eye out for it. Thanks again!