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LONG BLOG

10 Years of Competing in the Fighting Game Community

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Wow. It has been ten whole years since I competed in my first offline tournament in the FGC. Not gonna lie, it really doesn’t feel like ten years, but time really flies by in an instant. When I made my first blog talking about finding a community within the FGC, I mentioned that I made my debut at The Fall Classic back in 2013 when I was competing for DOA5 Ultimate for the first time. 

True story: I haven’t flown in almost four years since my trip to Japan in 2009 and I tend to get flight anxiety. Despite the turbulence freaking me out a lot, I did manage to get to Raleigh on time and I recall taking a bus with other DOA players who I met for the first time, such as XCalibur BladeZ and H0odless for example. The Fall Classic was also the same event where Team Ninja hosted their launch party for DOA5 Ultimate, which was released one week prior.

The Fall Classic was my first tournament in 2013, followed by The Filthie Cup one month later up in Philadelphia. That event was the first time I played on stream and it was also the first time where I fought FightClubHuBBs, who would later end up becoming my rival in Virtua Fighter. More on that later.

I’ve stuck with the DOA community from 2013 to 2018 in between DOA5 Ultimate and DOA5 Last Round. 2014 was when I went to Summer Jam for the first time, which would become a mainstay for me in terms of competing in tournaments. I remember after the Grand Finals for DOA5 Ultimate, we were given a teaser trailer for the upcoming game, Dead or Alive 5 Last Round. And 2015 was the year where I witnessed the infamous Perfect Legend vs. SonicFox FT10 where PL went 13-0. 

The one year that was considered the worst for me was 2016. I’ve been trying to create a blog multiple times about what happened around that time, and I’ve talked briefly about my experience during Chapter 2 of The Will to Keep Playing. 2016 was a rough year for me as a fighting game player because it was around the time when I was working at Best Buy and I was feeling miserable at that job. It also didn’t help due to the fact that my mental health wasn’t good and it carried me to how I performed in locals and tournaments, which created self-doubt on my end. 

I went to Summer Jam X seven years ago during the weekend of August 19-21, 2016 to compete in Dead or Alive 5 Last Round. Before the event began, I was having a character crisis since I used both Leifang and Marie-Rose at the time. I made the call after feedback that I should use Marie-Rose going forward since I do better with that character. Then came the day of the tournament when I played on stream against both LordXa1ver and NocTengu. As it figured, I lost hard against both players in the worst way possible.

Looking back at my matches, I recall how poorly I did because of Performance Anxiety kicking in. I made so many mistakes, I was playing on autopilot, I was completely out of it. I could easily tell since I watched both of my matches and analyzed what I did wrong. 

Four months later, I competed at NEC in the same game. While I managed to make some changes in sticking with Marie-Rose, I was back on stream again. This time, I was facing Terurock, a DOA player from Japan. Once again, performance anxiety kicked in and I lost my match against him. Losing on stream wasn’t bad, but what happened after I lost on stream is I got hit with the biggest truth bomb. I recall after Day 2 of NEC where EmeryReigns came to my room for some casuals and he told me in his words: “We need to level you up. I don’t think you actually play this game enough”. Even though that statement made me feel like crap, he was actually right. 

What I didn’t tell people around that time was the fact that aside from my self-doubts, I was losing interest in playing DOA5 Last Round and I was also on the verge of quitting DOA at the time as well. Every time I go over to a friend’s house for some DOA casuals, I have a sudden urge to leave early because I get frustrated every time I make a mistake in the game. Hell, I even forgot how to have fun in video games in general.

2017 was when I began to shift over to doing Let’s Plays on YouTube. This was also the same year where I also expanded outside of DOA to compete in other fighting games. First up was No Matter The Cost 2017, which was my first-ever Virtua Fighter tournament. I competed in four different Virtua Fighter games: Virtua Fighter 2, Virtua Fighter 3tb, Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution, and Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown. This was when I started to have fun again and also began becoming more involved with the VF community. Around that time, I also began competing in Tekken 7 for the first time as well and I didn’t last long because I guess I was starting to lose interest in competing. 

I competed again in 2018, but this time for DOA5 Last Round for the last time and also SoulCalibur VI at NEC. I went 0-2 for both games, not caring because DOA6 was on the way and I was interested in playing that game. Then once the game came out months later, I remember that I lasted 2 months into playing that game because DOA6 was not good at all. In addition to that, I was transitioning out of doing Let’s Plays on YouTube to becoming a Twitch streamer, so I took a full break from competing in tournaments.

2020 was a challenging year since by the end of 2019, I had already become a Twitch Affiliate thanks to Virtua Fighter. I was still finding my identity as a streamer and I was ready to do more stuff. I incorporated fighting games into my streams by playing games such as Samurai Shodown (2019), Tekken 7, and even Garou: Mark of the Wolves, but it didn’t get me anywhere because a lot of people were still playing those games. By the time the pandemic hit, I took a big risk by incorporating Virtua Fighter once again on stream. 

That risk was well worth it because a lot of people who watched my stream asked if I should hold tournaments for VF5FS. FightClubHuBBs also joined in on it and we both agreed to host monthly tournaments for the game, which then turned into bi-weeklies later on. This was when I created Virtua Fighter Takeover and it would be a way for me to get back into the FGC once again by hosting regular sessions and bi-weeklies with GVN. It was also the moment when I realized that Virtua Fighter will be my main game going forward since I kept talking about it a lot in the past.

One of the most iconic moments for me was when I returned to streaming, I remember SEGA came to my stream to check out my Virtua Fighter tournaments, which led to them following me on Twitch. That really caught me off-guard and I was really happy when that happened. 

Then came September 2020 when Virtua Fighter x eSports was announced. SEGA made an announcement that Virtua Fighter would be revived as an eSports title, which we didn’t hear again until the end of April 2021 where SEGA announced Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown, aka Virtua Fighter eSports in Japan. This was when it breathed new life into the community, showing players from different games to try it out. By the time VF5US came out one month later, I pretty much stuck with Goh Hinogami going forward. In the past, I had a character crisis in that game and it lasted almost a decade.

By August 2021, offline FGC events were slowly coming back into play and I went to Summer Jam for the first time since 2016 where I helped run a VF5US tournament. We had over 30 players entered, despite the lack of stream time. That year was also a challenging year for me because I also lost my job around October. Despite that happening and before I resumed my job search, I went on commentary at an FGC event for the very first time at NEC 2021. Being on commentary for the first time was an experience and it allowed me to give more knowledge on VF to the audience. Don’t worry: the unemployment lasted for three months because I ended up finding a new job later on.

2022 was more of a breakout year for me. I’ve been getting the hang of hosting tournaments, competing in them, and also providing my own commentary. It wasn’t until November 2022 where I traveled to Atlanta, GA for Sonic & SEGA FanJam where I experienced my first-ever victory in tournaments. Now I usually don’t count con tournaments, but it was my first time making it to the Grand Finals, let alone winning a tournament. And then in 2023, I made it to Grand Finals in an FGC event with Winter Brawl 3D, taking 2nd Place in VF5US. 

I’ve learned a lot from competing in the FGC for 10 years. Looking back, I had to do a lot of growing up and soul-searching in order to understand who I am as a fighting game player. There were times where I’ve experienced victories and defeats, as well as humbling players and being humbled by players. It’s all part of life and it’s not easy. There’s always going to be a player that’s better than you, so you need to prove that you are better than that player.

Here’s to 10 years of my FGC journey and 10 more years going forward. I’m very happy to be part of this community.

Until then… Train Up, Fighters!

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About Virtua Kazamaone of us since 12:55 PM on 07.05.2014

Twitch Affiliate, Let's Player, FGC player, and the host of Virtua Fighter Takeover. I play games: mostly fighters, platformers, beat em' ups, Japanese, Retro, and Modern.

Never miss a livestream! https://twitch.tv/virtuakazama