Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Close to Home

Some of you may be aware that I've had a long love affair with the Street Fighter series, and that I feel a constant urge to play and get better at the game even when not playing at all. A year or two ago I even dabbled with the local scene and participated in a handful of tournaments. I met some really cool players, got my ass handed to me over and over, and held my own on occasion but the amount of energy I knew I'd have to put in to take my game to the next level was simply more than I could afford so I put the game aside, so as not to torture myself.

Or so I always think. The truth is I still look from the outside in, wishing I could just play a few more games despite knowing exactly where that road ends. The other day, however, I visited shoryuken.com, the place for all things Street Fighter, and browsed the results of a recent major tournament, where players from all over the nation fly to participate for the top prize. Among the names, 801 Strider stood out. 801? Could this guy be from Utah? Waitaminute, is that Strider from the Utah forums?

Indeed it was. There's something really amazing about watching a player from your tiny scene competing against icons from the West and East coast and beating many of them down, fighting his way through the winner's bracket. In grand finals, 801 Strider lost by one round to Ricky Ortiz, the US finalist last year at EVO, the world's biggest fighting game tournament (Ortiz lost to the legendary Daigo, a Japanese player).

My Street Fighter demon reawakens. There's a good chance I'll stifle it, but watching Gustavo (801 Strider) in Grand Finals at West Coast Warzone 3 sure makes it hard.

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