As like-minded game engine savants, James Chen and i first met while trying to unravel the mysterious juggle systems of CvS2, and we’ve been friends since. With all the changes taking place in the community, we sat down (asynchronously on opposite sides of the internet) to discuss everything from stream commentary to character design to combo videos.
Maj: Let’s start from the beginning. What got you into fighting games and the tournament scene?
jchensor: I got hooked into Fighting Games because they were new. I was hooked ever since the original Street Fighter II. And even way back then, I was entering tournaments for Street Fighter II. So it was just something I always did.
However, I can easily say I never REALLY got into the Tournament scene until Street Fighter Alpha 2. Previous to that, I was pretty scrubby. A2 is probably the period of time where I really made that leap from being good to being truly tournament worthy.
Maj: What was your first tournament experience?
jchensor: It was a classic Street Fighter II tournament. I think it took place at a mini-golf arcade. Me, my brother, and one of my friends were pretty good at the time, before others really got good as well. So we took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd pretty easily, though I was the one that got 3rd place.
I’ve known Alex Valle since 2001, back in CvS1 days. Apart from consistently being one of my favorite players to watch, he’s also been a great friend and mentor. With SF4′s unbelievable popularity, thousands of new players have joined our community – eager to learn, without any access to old stories. I hope this interview sheds some light on how someone like Valle got started and how he got to where he is today.
Maj: Let’s start off with a little background info. What was the first tournament you entered? Do you remember how well you did?
CaliPower: First tourney I entered, I went out in two, lol. It was an original SF2 WW tourney and I lost to a Guile player and a Sim player.
Maj: Really, World Warrior? I didn’t know you were that oldschool. Who’d you use?
Maj: Nice, Shotos from the start.
Maj: What was the first tournament you won?
CaliPower: I won some random video store SF2 WW tournament that had like 10 people, I think. I didn’t enter tourneys after that until Alpha 1, where I met Watson.
Jason Begy (aka Slartibartfast on SRK) recently conducted two interviews with combo video authors as part of a GAMBIT media studies research project focusing on unconventional ways of interacting with games.
The first one is an interview with jchensor in which they talk about how he got started making videos, what his primary considerations are, who he makes videos for, and his influences. Retrospective stories are always fun to read, and he also makes some insightful comments about 538/kysg‘s outstanding 3rd Strike video series. (Ignore the stuff he says about me though – unnecessary and way too flattering.)
An Interview with James “jchensor” Chen
The second one is actually an interview with me, comprised of basically the same questions. Different answers though. Except for the parts where we both talk about how long we’ve been official members of the TZW fanclub and how we’re excited about preordering special edition gold-plated 20th anniversary membership cards coming out in 2011.
An Interview with Maj
It was a lot of fun (and a little bit surreal) participating in this study. I’m definitely looking forward to future installments with other combo authors! It’s always cool to see how other active participants view this hobby of ours.
The Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the government of Singapore created to explore new directions for the development of games as a medium. GAMBIT sets itself apart by emphasizing the creation of video game prototypes to demonstrate their research as a complement to traditional academic publishing.