I think everyone who has ever been involved with the Fighting Game Community can remember their first time. No, get your head out of the gutter, I’m talking about something else! What I’m talking about is that first time that you feel, whether it’s during a late-night meal after a practice session or in a packed hotel room after a major event, the almost mystical feeling of this is where I belong. I still remember mine: Final Round 2012 in Atlanta, GA. The tournament itself wasn’t very good, but on the Saturday of that weekend, a 5 on 5 exhibition was held that involved ten pillars of the then-fledgling community who almost exclusively played Mortal Kombat and other fighters from Netherrealm Studios. Some of my training partners played in it, and although they got their ass kicked, the elation and fun of being in that room with all that energy powered me through the disappointment of seeing my friends lose and being packed in like a sardine. 3 years of competing in tournaments and I was finally home. I’ve been a lifer ever since, having played every NRS game competitively in some fashion and creating content exclusively tailored to that community.
I still remember when I first heard that my uncle was homeless. Well, he was “homeless” in the sense of what the hundreds of thousands of those we consider “homeless” actually are: he could scrap together some cash to put his family up in a Motel 6 here or there or stay with some friends from time to time, but he did not have any sort of residence that didn’t change day-to-day. Between the various debts he owed to both utilities companies and the federal government, he was simply in far too much debt to really earn money, since almost everything he could scrape together through any anonymous day labor he could find went toward finding some sort of housing and food, with very little left over to start saving some money toward a more permanent home. I remember seeing his son, then a toddler, hair long and in front of his eyes due to not being able to get a proper haircut, and his clothes wrinkled and dirty from his parents not having any means to get them clean. The last I had heard, they were splitting time between spending days in public parks and nights at whatever shelter or friends’ place they could find, trying to stay out of the hot Arizona summer and chilly desert winter.
Before I start, I do want to give a warning that there is some pretty heinous stream chat clips that have lots of transphobia. If that’s not something you can handle today, please be aware!
2019 has barely started but the Fighting Game Community never stops rolling. Both the Dragonball FighterZ World Tour and Genesis, one of the biggest Super Smash Bros. tournaments of the year, happened within a week of each other, and both were great watches for any fighting game fan. Genesis, in particular, had what will likely be one of the biggest upsets of the whole year when Magi, an up and coming Super Smash Bros. Melee player who recently cracked the top 100 on the Melee Global Rankings, upset Joseph “Mang0” Marquez, long considered amongst the very best SSBM players.
But the more we see new faces upset old legends, the more some terrible things stay the same.