Mama, I want to be a Street Fighter
Calgary to host international gaming contest
by Aaron Chatha
Over two million unique viewers watched the Street Fighter championships online this summer. Taking place in Las Vegas, players from around the world gathered to play fighting games like Street Fighter and Tekken, in a contest to determine who was the most skilled with six buttons and a joystick.
On the weekend of Nov. 5, for its second year, the Canada Cup brings that experience home with its own fighting-game tournament. Players from as far as Japan and Singapore, and as close as the United States and our very own city, will test their mettle in a number of fighting contests. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition will be the main event.
But, surely the only ones interested in a competitive gaming event already know about this?
Troy Kirkland, director of Canada Cup, said he believes events like these can, and have, captured wide audiences. There’s something to be found in a match of Street Fighter that’s just not in a typical boxing or UFC match.
“Watching a Street Fighter match streamed live to the web — it’s nerdy,” Kirkland said. “Let’s not lie about that.
“There’s a certain understanding of what’s happening and there’s more flare to it.”
“I mean, watching MMA and watching Street Fighter is kind of apples and oranges,” he added. “Nobody in an MMA match is going to throw a fireball or fly across the screen and land 30-hit combos. It’s a very different exhibition that’s being put on.”
Many in the gaming community describe a game of Street Fighter like a game of chess. It’s less about pressing the right buttons than pressing them at the right time. It’s easy to learn which button combination will unleash a fireball, but it takes time to learn that the best time to throw that fireball is when your opponent is far away from you or has left his or her defences down.
There’s nothing very spectacular about your opponent jumping over special attacks and simply punching you in the face.
Local gamer Jamie Templeton has learned these lessons the hard way. Templeton mainly uses a character named Vega, who, despite sporting a stylish silver mask and a bare chest that would make even the Twilight stars jealous, is also one of the weakest characters in the game.
However, Templeton worked hard to make the best of Vega’s few strengths and was the only local player to make it into the top-eight at last year’s Canada Cup.
His secret? Mind games.
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Many effective strategies include tricking an opponent into thinking you’re going to do one move, then punishing his stupidity with a devastating attack.
It should come as no surprise though that Calgary is the host of Canada’s biggest fighting game tournament. The fighting game community has exploded in the city, with weekly meetings held at Tubby Dog. There’s now even a headquarters in the N.E. where players can play competitively.
But, even if you’ve never picked up a game controller before, the community in the city is incredibly welcoming, helpful and interested in keeping the game fun. Even the tournament, which will also feature games like Mortal Kombat and BlazBlu, isn’t aiming to make a profit, but just keep itself going each year.
The Canada Cup will stream live, with more information at www.canada-cup.ca, but will also be open for spectators at the Sheraton Cavalier on Barlow and 32nd N.E.