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The Social Aspect

June 5th, 2010 10 comments

Say what you will about video games being a massive time sink, but the one cool thing about offline fighting game competition is that it’s an inherently social activity. You can’t go to an arcade, or a local game night, or a tournament without meeting new people, making friends, forming rivalries, dealing with pressure, and learning things about yourself.

Personally i’ve never been the extroverted type. I could count my high school friends on one hand – possibly because i wore headphones through the majority of my senior year.

Yet somehow my phonebook filled up to a hundred names just for being an SHGL arcade regular. I’m not talking about fake facespace “friends” either. I’m talking about real people that i actually hung out with, who i considered friends, who tried to help each other when one of us needed something. I still expect to run into at least fifty of these people every year i can make it out to Evo or any other major community event.

If you’ve been playing Street Fighter online or on your own this entire time, you simply owe it to yourself to broaden your horizons. Check out SRK’s Regional Matchmaking forum and find out where the players in your city get together to practice. When you go, don’t be shy. Introduce yourself to everyone there, ask questions when you need to, and most importantly, step up and play your best regardless of your skill level.

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The SoCal Tournament Scene Without SHGL

October 5th, 2009 12 comments

Several years ago i wrote an editorial article about the closing of Southern Hills Golfland, the arcade where all of Southern California’s best players gathered for nearly a decade. People still talk about SHGL’s monthly 128-man Marvel tournaments attracting players from all over the country on a ridiculously regular basis. The article was originally posted on Video Opera which has been falling apart at a steady pace since then. It seems like a good idea to repost it here because those photo links are bound to stop working any day now.
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The SoCal Tournament Scene Without SHGL
December 17th, 2003

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the fall of Southern Hills Golfland, the center of Southern California’s fighting game tournament scene for over seven years. With revenues steadily decreasing since the close of the movie theater next door, Golfland Entertainment Centers, Inc. saw no reason to keep the small arcade open. The high value of the land it occupied lead to the demolition of the arcade to make way for a gated community of single family houses.

There is nothing left of SHGL now, with the newly constructed buildings almost completed. The entire area, including what was the SHGL parking lot, is enclosed in a brick wall perimeter. The main access road is named Stepping Stone Cir, which meets Beach Blvd at the entrance to the community. Within the walls are over twenty separate houses, at least one of which serves as the sales office.

The deserted movie theater has since been replaced by Super Autobacs, a Japanese automotive store specializing in rice rocket power ups. The Yoshinoya and the Burger King are still open, along with a new Quiznos restaurant and a new Poofy’s Pastrami restaurant. The Pho place near the mysteriously vacant donut store has been revamped. Finally, the furniture store next door with the crazy neon lights remains completely unchanged.

Camelot Golfland, the supposed replacement for SHGL, has nowhere near the management support that John “SHGLBoss” Bailon provided the regulars at his arcade. Camelot may be a much bigger and better funded arcade, but it caters solely to children’s parties and family outings. Where the SHGL management encouraged its big name players and recognized their valuable ability to help bring in new customers, Camelot has made an enemy out of every player who requests tournament support and demands working equipment.

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Secret Origins #1

September 3rd, 2009 9 comments

It’s funny – whenever i exchange links with someone, over half those people end up categorizing Sonic Hurricane as a Guile website. Not that it bothers me, but if this were a character fansite, you’d probably find his blood type listed somewhere, right?

Let me go back to the beginning and tell you how it all went down. The first three videos i ever made were released on a website called Clockw0rk.com – owned by the legendary Strider/Doom player himself, before we lost him to MMORGPs. At some point shortly after i finished my third video, someone forgot to pay a hosting bill so the website went down (and never got back up). Well, i figured it wouldn’t help matters to bug the other staff members about restoring the website. After waiting quietly for several weeks, i decided the best solution would be to create my own website and pay its hosting fees myself.

SSF2T Guile sketchEssentially Sonic Hurricane was built to house my homeless CvS2 videos. (You have to remember, this was years before rapidshare, youtube, and bittorrent.) Everything else was included as an afterthought. For instance, the primary reason i added an official artwork gallery and started writing articles was to make the navigation menu look fuller.

However, my main problem was that i needed a color layout and i happened to suck at graphic design. I mean, if you give me a choice between eight character palettes to use on a specific background, i can usually make the right decision. But if you give me 16,777,216 options and tell me to pick three matching colors, i’ll spend five hours trying to do it through trial and error, then surrender unconditionally.

So i did what any respectable fighting game fanatic would do: I found a Street Fighter sprite and hijacked its color scheme. Literally every font, logo, and border color found anywhere on sh/classic was extracted from Guile sprite palettes. If you’re asking why it had to be Guile, it was mainly out of respect for my oldschool combo video heroes, most of whom used Guile as their main combo character.

So you see, this was never meant to be a Street Fighter fansite. Guile’s only there for thematic decoration. Sonic Hurricane has always been a TZW fansite (and ozy and NKI and …)

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